There is no shortage of films about the crass greed of stockbrokers and others who make their living selling. The broker is usually depicted as manipulative, dishonest and successful, or naive, ambitious and willing to sell his soul. But rarely has the tortured path of the unwilling Faust been portrayed as well as Giovanni Ribisi does in Boiler Room.
I read this article a while back, that said that Microsoft employs more millionaire secretaries than any other company in the world. They took stock options over Christmas bonuses. It was a good move. I remember there was this picture, of one of their groundskeepers next to his Ferrari. Blew my mind. You see shit like that, and it just plants seeds, makes you think it's possible, even easy. And then you turn on the TV, and there's just more of it. The 87-million-dollar lottery winner, that kid actor who just made 20 million on his last movie, that Internet stock that shot through the roof—you could have made millions if you had just gotten in early, and that's exactly what I wanted to do: get in. I didn't want to be an innovator any more, I just wanted to make the quick and easy buck, I just wanted in. The Notorious B-I-G said it best: "Either you're slingin' crack-rock, or you've got a wicked jump-shot." Nobody wants to work for it anymore. There's no honor in taking that after-school job at Mickey Dee's, honor's in the dollar, kid. So I went the white-boy way of slinging crack-rock; I became a stock broker.
Director/writer Ben Younger set out to answer the questions the movie's tag line poses, "Where would you turn? How far would you go? How hard will you fall?" He introduces Seth Davis (Ribisi) as a sharp, smart, entreprenurial type desperate to win the approval of his hard-nosed father, a federal judge (sternly played by Ron Rifkin). Judge Davis is furious with Seth, not for dropping out of college, but for lying to his family about it for six months. He confronts Seth at a rare appearance at the family table, angry that his son is running an illegal casino.