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Rogue Trader

List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
"Rogue Trader" is an instance of a true story that was perfect for film being turned into a mediocre picture, which is why it was never seen outside of cable television. Still, Ewan McGregor is the highlight of the picture with a good performance as real life trader Nick Leeson, whose dealings brought the Barings Bank of England to bankruptcy.

It's just that everything around him seems second rate; the production values, the supporting acting, etc. I almost wish that this had been made as a film with a slightly bigger budget, because the terror that this character has to face as he tries to cover his losses is immense. The audience just doesn't feel that with the exception of a few scenes on the trading floor where we see the losses build ever greater. Done right, this could have been a magnificent film. Instead, the director chooses to add a bland romantic element between Leeson and his wife (not incredibly well played by Anna Friel) instead of adding to the tension.

"Rogue Trader" is another one of those films where I'd recommend you'd read the book instead, which is a much more thrilling account of the terror that Leeson faced during the days before he was jailed for his trading.

The DVD

VIDEO:
Yes, believe it or not, it's anamorphic and it's from Miramax. It's not perfect and there are some notable flaws, but most of it does look quite pleasing. Images are generally clear and crisp, if not razor sharp. When the movie is on the trading floor, the colors are great, with all of the various colors of the different jackets that the traders wear looking vibrant. Although the movie does have some nice locations and fairly good scenery, a lot of this movie looks like it was made on a fairly small budget and many scenes don't offer much in the way of visuals.

This is one of those discs where image quality has pros and cons from scene to scene. Although the bright exteriors and a lot of the interiors generally look good, occasionally, there are small marks on the print used and some occasional slight shimmering. There's also a bit of grain here and there. Again, I'm glad that Miramax went anamorphic for this title, but when you think about all of the Miramax titles in the past that could have been anamorphic, you have to wonder why they chose this one to really start things off (well, besides the "Shakespeare In Love" and "Existenz" discs, both of which boast better image quality than this disc). This isn't the best transfer, but it's generally adequate.

SOUND: Almost entirely dialogue, "Rogue Trader" is a very basic sound mix; even the songs (and there are some nice techno and various other genre songs thrown in) don't have much weight or impact to them, either. Although the sound "opens up" a bit on the trading floor, it's still nothing too impressive. Dialogue is clear and easily heard.

MENUS:: Very basic menus, normal for Miramax.

EXTRAS: Well, uh, hmm...I guess there aren't any.



Final Thoughts Recommendation: Skip it - read the book instead. They could have at least offered some extras with history about the character.
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