Boiler Room unabashedly takes its cues from Wall Street and Glengarry Glenn Ross with a clip from the former being shown and quoted by the characters, so kudos for at least not denying it and claiming to be original through and through. The performances are mostly solid but the screenplay and in particular, the ending needed work because it had potential to be memorable.
Warner Bros. | R – 119 min. – $14.97 | March 4, 2014
THE MOVIE – 3.75/5
Plot Outline: Seth Davis (GIOVANNI RIBISI) runs a small-time casino operation out of his apartment. With his streetwise business smarts, an old friend (JAMIE KENNEDY), recruits him to join the city’s newest and hottest stock brokerage firm, an aggressive, renegade corporation far from the traditions of Wall Street. Trained by the company’s top young lurks, Chris (VIN DIESEL) and Greg (NICKY KATT), Seth takes quickly to his new job’s instant riches and fast-life pleasures. He even gains new favor with his estranged father (RON RIFKIN), a federal judge.
When Seth wins the eye and the heart of Greg’s ex-girlfriend Abbie (NIA LONG), it all seems too good to be true. He’s about to learn the devastating secret behind all this intoxicating success. Just as quickly as he was seduced into the firm, Seth finds himself caught in a trap that could tear down his whole world crashing down.
Quick Hit Review: I originally watched Boiler Room sometime in 2001 or 2002 and was immediately impressed with the performances and well paced story. Now 12+ years later, while it still holds up relatively well, I also began noticing some quirks from the MTV-like style in the first half, including dated hip-hop music, and issues with the story itself and specifically with the ending which, satisfying enough as it was, could’ve been better but seemed like the producers ran out of money and just needed to end it. We get no closure with any of the characters, in particular between Seth and Abbie, and the fates of the workers at the firm and their punishments.
Still, those issues aside, Giovanni Ribisi gives a good performance as the money hungry kid working hard to get up the ladder; Nicky Katt works as his supervisor and adversary; Nia Long doesn’t have a whole lot to work with but the scenes between her and Ribisi are well done; and a young, Pre-Fast Vin Diesel works in the supporting role. I also have to mention the cameo from Ben Affleck in what is more or less appearance a la Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glenn Ross, just a bit more cheerful by comparison and any scene he’s in, albeit a bit jarring, is a lot of fun and is filled with some great dialogue.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
Except for the DVD-ROM content (screenplay), some production notes and an isolated score track, everything else has been ported over for this release.
Audio Commentary – Writer/Director Ben Younger, Producer Jennifer Todd, Actor Giovanni Ribisi and Composer “The Angel” sit down for an insightful commentary giving background on the project and offering tid-bits on behind-the-scenes stories. Younger and Todd are together while Ribisi pops in every so often as does The Angel so it’s not the most fluid track but not bad.
Deleted Scenes (8:35) – There are five scenes removed for various reasons, mainly for pacing issues or scenes that go nowhere including the original ending which is dark finding the bankrupt client going to the office and presumably shooting up the place.
Also includes the Theatrical Trailer (2:22) which has that old trailer voice I love and miss.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Boiler Room arrives on Blu-ray from Warner Home Video given a 1080p high-definition transfer and presented with a 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio (originally 1.85). This movie never did look the best with the director and cinematographer going for darker pastels but even so, detail levels are good and I didn’t notice any major instances of artifacts or pixilation and only a couple of times banding. Maybe not great, but still a solid transfer.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
Interestingly enough, we get a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track which is nice showcasing the aforementioned music while dialogue levels are all crisp and clear throughout. Although not dynamic and 7 channels seem to be overkill for a catalog title, it’s a fine lossless track that is certainly an OK upgrade over its DVD counterpart.
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Boiler Room unabashedly takes its cues from Wall Street and Glengarry Glenn Ross with a clip from the former being shown and quoted by the characters, so kudos for at least not denying it and claiming to be original through and through. The performances are mostly solid but the screenplay and in particular, the ending needed work because it had potential to be memorable. Even so, I still found it to be entertaining all these years later.
The Blu-ray released by Warner Home Video offers up a limited amount of special features but the audio and video transfers are respectable upgrades over the DVD release, although a slight one.