Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Can you say Ferrari? These guys can.

Seth Davis, a college dropout, is running an illegal casino den in his apartment one night, when he's approached by two yuppies asking him to join them at JT Marlin - a stock brokerage firm which guarantees its young recruits an income of a million dollars within three years of joining the firm, if they are willing to adopt the ruthless means it takes to get there.

Fueled by an intense desire to "get in" on the quick and easy buck and furthermore by a need to gain the respect and admiration of his hard-nosed father, a federal judge, Seth agrees to join the firm. He learns the ropes quickly and after weeks of "always closing" deals and selling stock relentlessly on the phone to unsuspecting new Yorkers, he becomes a broker in his own right.

In those weeks he also learns about the holes in the firm's operation, its practice of selling stock of companies that don't exist and of its backup plan in case things start going wrong...which of course they do. The FBI has been keeping a close watch on Seth and has incriminating evidence of even his father's potential involvement in what JT Marlin has been planning - a stock market coup.

The movie throngs with aggressive young men on the make dressed in suits, wannabes who slash throats in the financial jungle to survive, stepping on the toes of naive, hard-working citizens to get that mansion and Ferrari in as little time as possible.

The pace of the movie is smooth, the plot taut and gripping, and the performances by Ribsi, Katt (who plays Greg) and Affleck worth a mention. Affleck's appearance though minimal, creates a power surge in the flick, every time he comes onscreen. However, the role of Debbie, the firm's secretary and Davis's romantic interest, played by Nia Long, is expendable.

Director Ben Younger has done a great job - his camera moves quickly, it's sleek, clever and knows what to look for in a scene. The evolution of Seth's character from a small-sighted teen to an ambitious, self-assured young man who can't be quite as callous as his peers, has been intelligently depicted. The movie is worth a watch for its look at the state of ethics of an increasing number of young people who go out into the world with only one thought in mind - money.

This article was first published on 10 Aug 2000.