What To Watch: Boiler Room


Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi star in New Line Cinema's drama, Boiler Room (Courtesy of mctcampus.com).

Tyler Lopez

The stocks of New York City’s famous and infamous Wall Street are a playground for those who have the means to gamble on fluctuating stocks. It is also a haven for stockbrokers who are looking for a quick buck in the form of scamming and scalping.

In 1987 director Oliver Stone brought audiences Wall Street. Starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas, Wall Street gave the world an inside view on how corrupt our stocks are.

Almost 15 years later, director Ben Younger brought us Boiler Room. Drawing many influences from Wall Street, the film gives viewers an even deeper looking into the world of stockbroking.

Seth Davis (Giovanni Ribisi) is a 19 year-old Queens College dropout who is running an illegal casino is his New York apartment. For his age, and being unemployed, Seth is making more money than anyone his age would make.

But for him, he feels he can be something better and actually make a living. At a family dinner, Seth’s father, Marty ( Ron Rifkin) a New York federal judge, finds out about Seth’s illegal activities and that he has been lying about being at Queens College, where he dropped out nine months prior.

Back at his apartment, his cousin Adam (Jamie Kennedy) and wealthy friend named Greg Weinstein ( Nicky Katts),  play a game of Blackjack, until Greg bets 1,000 dollars. Seth asks what he does, to which Greg says he is a stockbroker.

Seth is immediately interested, and is asked to join J.T. Marlin, a brokerage firm off the Long Island Expressway, a good hour and a half away from Wall Street.

Once Seth arrives at J.T. Marlin he is thrusted into a meeting with 29 year-old CEO Jim Young ( Ben Affleck), who promises that in three months the new brokers will be millionaires.

Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi star in New Line Cinema's drama, Boiler Room (Courtesy of mctcampus.com).

Ben Affleck and Giovanni Ribisi star in New Line Cinema’s drama, Boiler Room (Courtesy of mctcampus.com).

J.T. Marlin operates in the controversial field of cold calling. Cold calling is selling stock to clients who have no knowledge of the markets and who have made no plans of owning stock. A very easy, and quick way, to make money.

To become a fully paid broker, Seth must close 40 accounts to pass his Series 7 Exam. Within a matter of days, Seth learns that J.T. Marlins is actually chop stock, selling fake stock in expired, or fake, companies.

In the wake of discovering J.T. Marlin’s illegal activities, Seth befriends Chris Varick ( Vin Diesel), who he begins to express his concerns to.

Seth eventually passes his Series 7 Exam, and contacts his first client, Harry Reynard (Taylor Nichols). Seth promises Harry thousands in cash, when he invests his family’s life savings.

The stock Seth sells Harry tanks, causing him lose his family’s life savings and his family.

Feeling guilty for causing harm to a client, Seth turns to his father to help. His father refuses, stating he is a disappointment.

Upon leaving the federal courthouse, Seth is taken into custody by the FBI for violating 26 SEC and NASD regulations.

The agents reveal that they had  been watching him since he contacted Harry Reynard.

The FBI offer immunity to Seth in exchange for J.T. Marlin’s manifesto of their clients, employee payments and investment files to a floppy disk.

Seth returns to work the next day, and follows the FBI’s instructions. He calls Harry back and promises he’ll get his money back.

Seth approaches Jim Young to give back Harry’s loss, stating he’s a loyal, and wealthy, client. Young agrees and Seth goes back to his desk.

To confirm a refund, a senior broker must sign the refund ticket. Seth gets Chris and pulls him aside to tell him the FBI are about to raid the firm.

He then tells him to gather as much information as he can to lessen his sentence. Chris reluctantly agrees.

Seth leaves the firm as state police and the FBI vehicles pour into the firm’s parking lot. Seth slowly turns around and look to the firm.

He gets in his car and says he need to find a job.