Boiler Room

Crackling drama about a young New York hustler (Giovanni Ribisi) who's dropped out of college to make a small fortune running his own casino in his apartment, but, due to his father's (Ron Rifkin) consistent disappointment, decides to go "straight" by joining up with a hot shot stock brokerage on Long Island, where each broker (all male, all under 30) is either a millionaire or destined to get there soon.

Naturally, all that sudden wealth is very alluring, and naturally, there's something not quite on the up-and-up about the brokerage. However, writer/director Younger keeps it real, sidestepping the obvious, avoiding sentimentality, and soaking his film in an authentic-feeling atmosphere. It's eminently clear that he knows the world of these young macho stockbrokers very well. He's also a no-nonsense director and a good writer in the classic style. It's nice to see somebody who's really investing suspense and drama in what a character chooses to do. It's also nice to see a very serious film where nobody dies (such a cliche: "it's not dramatic unless somebody gets killed!").

The cast is great, particularly Ribisi and Rifkin. Ben Affleck's glorified cameo is tolerable, though one is reminded by watching him that he has no gift for acting; he's just an agreeable chump who got lucky and made it big. Ribisi, however, is the real thing.