Boiler Room is a sometimes ambitious movie in which the filmmakers take the viewer deep into the world of cold-call stock selling in which a small group of twentysomething brokers seek to sell enough to make millions in months.
In the movie "Wall Street," Michael Douglas' character Gordon Gecko delivers an incredible speech which can be reduced to three simple words, "Greed is Good." The brokers in the Boiler Room have grown up taking inspiration from this speech and the lessons to be taken from David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross.
The inspiration of these films is immediately evident in Boiler Room. The brokers often quote Glengarry Glen Ross directly for inspiration, and, in one of the highlights of the film, the group sits around a big screen television watching "Wall Street" and reciting the lines while watching it. The scene does more than pay homage to a great movie, it demonstrates the way in which this popular image supporting this "Greed is Good" philosophy has influenced and almost controlled the brokers. Unfortunately, while there are a couple of other really enjoyable scenes, they are somewhat few and far between. The adrenaline rush of seeing the Boiler Room in action is enjoyable, and the film does a good job of demonstrating what the life must really be like, however, the plot itself is somewhat disjointed and the film often gets bogged down because of it. Perhaps, by showing the inspiration of "Wall Street", the film damns itself to relative inferiority in the face of a far superior film. While there are some definite highlights to the film, the film's has several flaws which detract from the film and prevent this film from being the type of film good enough to be watched repeatedly to the point where it would be revered and recited in the manner in which "Wall Street" is enjoyed by the characters in the film. The film suffers from a rather sloppy plot, a somewhat shoddy explanation for the firm's formula for success, a few weak performances which detract from a couple good ones, and a rather hollow ending. Characters fade completely out of the focus of the film and re-emerge again, and a scene that precedes the film's flashback doesn't completely make sense once the film comes back to the same spot. While the film does reflect a sense of Writer-Director Ben Younger's ambition, it often falls short of the mark. While the cast and the premise may have created unreasonable expectations, the film proved to be ultimately a disappointing one.
The DVD is presented in widescreen and the picture quality of the film is quite good. There are few, if any imperfections in the print. While there is a scene where the film seems to freeze for a brief film, such problems are not perceptible elsewhere in the film.
The Boiler Room DVD is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound is generally on par with the other films put out by New Line, however a few times during the film, the volume had to be adjusted because music used in the film was notably louder than the normal level or the dialogue in the film was below such a level. The sound is generally good however.
The Boiler Room DVD does contain a fair amount of extras. The DVD features a cast and crew bio, the theatrical trailer, 5 deleted scenes including the film's original ending and commmentaries by The Angel (who scored the film) and by Writer/ Director Benjamin Younger, Producer Jennifer Todd, Star Giovanni Ribisi, and The Angel.
The cast and crew commentary track is both enjoyable and frustrating. The track features Younger and Todd together and the separate commentary tracks of Ribisi and The Angel interspersed periodically. While Younger and Todd's commentary is regularly informative about the making of the film, the real people and events that inspired it, and the little nuances picked up to demonstrate how people like the characters in the film actually act, the other two commentary tracks detract from the enjoyment of this commentary by discussing a number of subjects unconnected to the scene in the film being viewed. The Angel's commentary, spends an inordinate amount of time discussing the gender biases and imbalances in the movie scoring industry and in DJ'ing. While this is an interesting subject matter, the large amount of time spent discussing it detracts from the film. Similarly, Ribisi's commentary is generally on acting and rarely tied into the action on screen. Ribisi discusses non-germane topics during two of the more important scenes in the movie, and spends a fair amountof time talking about other projects he has been working on with his industry friends. While interesting at times, Ribisi also goes on far too long and leaves the viewer hoping they will go back to the commentary by Younger and Todd soon.
The commentary by Younger and Todd does provide the viewer with a greater appreciation for some of the subtleties of the characters and their actions, and Younger discusses the decision regarding the film's ending. Their commentary does add to the enjoyment and appreciation of the film and is worth watching despite the inevitable frustration of their being periodically interrupted.
Deleted Scenes- Of the 5 deleted scenes included on the DVD, 3 are scenes which are variations of those included in the film and do not really add much to the film. The other two, however, do offer a stark contrast to released version of the film. The first scene is a scene which takes place in a hotel room. The scene is somewhat graphic and really had the effect of changing the light in which all the characters are viewed. While in the film the characters are somewhat sympathetic despite their questionable deeds, the hotel room scene makes them seem much less sympathetic, as we see a whole line up of the brokers eagerly awaiting to have their turn with two hired prostitutes. Although the prostitutes in the scene are seemingly willing participants, the scene nevertheless retains a sense of a "gang rape" feel to it. Also included in the deleted scenes is the original ending. Discussed a bit in the commentary, the original ending is quite different and more thought provoking, albeit a somewhat abrupt ending. It is definitely worth watching after viewing the final version of the film.
Despite a few thoroughly enjoyable scenes and strong performances by Nicky Katt and Vin Diesel and a few others, this film often seemed a bit disjointed and didn't fully click. Ribisi, despite putting in a strong performance in "Saving Private Ryan," is unable to carry the film and on the whole the film is fairly disappointing. While listening to the commentary did enhance my appreciation for what the director sought to accomplish with this film, I would recommend renting it with lowered expectations and caution against purchasing this film.