Rogue Trader - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rogue Trader Reviews

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September 25, 2016
This movie highlights how you can feel sorry for somebody who is clever, aimed to high, and became to proud to admit his mistake. It's down to McGregors likeableness that wins the audience over.
½ April 3, 2016
Rogue Trader is a true story about Nick Leeson, the young trader whose crimes brought down Barings Bank, one of the oldest banks in the UK. The film seems like a low budget production, but demonstrates the early acting talent of Ewan McGregor. The sound and audio are somewhat weak, and there were times I wish that subtitles were provided. Perhaps this is simply because it is a British production and the English accents are difficult to comprehend when being muttered quickly.

Although this appears to be a low-budget production, the film itself is realistic and does convey the anxiety as Leeson's trading losses come closer to becoming revealed. The film demonstrates how sometimes executives are willing to overlook logic and system controls in pursuit of greed and the exposure that is created in the process.

I found this to be a true depiction of events. In contrast, I found that "The Big Short" film seemed quite an untrue depiction despite the factual material. This is a good, straightforward film for financial and securities enthusiasts.
May 1, 2015
Interesting to see how Nick Leeson bring down England' s most respected merchant bank. Ewan McGregor is very good.
½ March 12, 2015
The story of how people side with only those during their best times and not when they need them the most.. There was nothing but instant hatred for the 'wife' character in this movie.. But it also shows, that Rogue Trader Nick Leeson had a lot of heart, which we as normal human beings lack..
October 29, 2014
I actually empathized with Nick Leeson. Ewan McGregor was excellent.
October 4, 2014
derivatives trading is what I'm learning now
April 26, 2014
Money Drives All Sorts Of Maniacal Behaviour. This Is But One Example Of How One Mans Drive To Prove a Himself, Brings Down The Bank! Literally!!
½ January 5, 2014
This film is too short to explain how Nick Leeson lead the Barings Bank to its doom. Despite a good performance by Ewan McGregor, the film fails to create suspense or show how Leeson got stuck in a series of worse and worse losses.
July 5, 2013
Pretty good but depressing.
May 21, 2013
Critically dismissed, but still....this is a swift, diamonds-for-dollars thriller with good to great performances from Mcgregor and company. Highly Recommended for fans of Wall St and Boiler Room.
January 3, 2013
I caught this on IFC before and was bored to death and may have not even finished watching it but McGregor was pretty good. Still if an actor is decent in a incredibly boring movie what merit does it hold?
½ November 14, 2012
One of McGregor's best performance in my opinion. Unfortunately the film itself doesn't perform as well.
Super Reviewer
October 26, 2012
Biodrama that gives the inside look at how a good man can go bad....really bad. This is a great example of stupidity, and how bad choices in life can create downward spirals. This man took the ride all the way to the bottom..
October 12, 2012
wow this film is became one of my subject study in class of risk management and it is very interesting topics that brought us to know what really happened on the world that day. and i very enjoyed to watch it again.
August 19, 2012
Cada minuto pode ser o ultimo. Ewan McGregor vai fundo e nos mostra o conflituoso mundo dos negócios.
January 24, 2012
Very good movie. Ewan was excellent in it (: I'd really like to read the book.
January 2, 2012
Actually wanted to see this for years but now I have its actually really, really dull! i knew what it was about so I knew it wouldn't be captivating but I didn't even find it interesting to find this out, just really bored. McGregor was Ok though.
½ November 20, 2011
The arrangement of the director successfully portrayed the stressful environment in a trading environment, hauled by greedy sharks that wanted only profit. The entire story is fully illustrated, while the actor and actress might not be impressive in the movie.

I would say the director is managing a very good storyline, with the enticing environment when someone traded in huge amount of money and won it. It could also be killing when losing out money and haunted by greed, not necessary by oneself but by investors that funded the smart trader.

A good movie for people to ponder about wealth and health.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2011
"Rogue Trader" This movie is the true story of Nick Leeson
(the fantastic Ewan McGregor), the employee who broke the oldest bank in England, the Bearings Bank. Nick is an ambitious young man, son of a simple man who works with plaster, transferred to Singapore to operate in future market of derivatives. He was considered the best employee of Bearing Banks, but indeed he was gambling with high amounts of the bank and hiding the losses under a secret account number 88888. There are at least three points to highlight in this movie.
September 14, 2011
In the current climate, where it‚(TM)s almost fashionable to bash the banker, it would be all too simple to go easy on films which paint a broadly negative picture of our financial system. But we must remember that such films have to weather the storm as much as the people they are portraying, and that they must remain relevant when the markets go back up (or down). Rogue Trader doesn‚(TM)t manage to do this, being occasionally arresting but mostly disappointing.

There‚(TM)s no doubt that the story of Nick Leeson deserved to be put on screen. His story is indicative of two big trends in 1980s and 1990s commerce: new blood flowing into the City of London from outside of traditional circles, and intense levels of greed and materialism after Big Bang, which were (temporarily) curbed by the stock market crash of 1987.

Our expectations are raised further by the talent on either side of the camera. Ewan McGregor had recently made his name in Trainspotting, Danny Boyle‚(TM)s first big transatlantic hit. The writer-director James Dearden had previously written the screenplay for Fatal Attraction, which captured another aspect of the 1980s zeitgeist, namely the AIDS epidemic. And the film is scored by Richard Hartley, who arranged the music for both The Rocky Horror Picture Show and its sequel Shock Treatment.

The big problem with Rogue Trader is that it very quickly falls between two stalls. On the one hand, it wants to be a raucous, lads‚(TM)-night-out comedy, in the manner of The Full Monty or, if you must, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. The film contains numerous scenes of broad, bawdy comedy, such as Leeson and his colleagues mooning the girls in the bar. On the other hand, it wants to be a hard-hitting zeitgeist thriller about greed and how the stock market is based on lying ‚" a sort of Wall Street for the late-1990s.

The basic point which Rogue Trader makes is to draw an analogy between the stock market and gambling. The film contends that both are at heart based on luck and the ability to lie consistently enough to cover up one‚(TM)s mistakes; the only difference is the amount of money changing hands. It‚(TM)s hardly a ground-breaking analysis of global finance, and for much of the running time it is used to excuse or mitigate our increasing incredulity towards the central character. But at least the emphasis on luck makes us root for the central protagonist, even when we know in our hearts that his luck won‚(TM)t change.

Rogue Trader‚(TM)s first flaw in terms of storytelling is that it fails to adequately explain the workings of the futures market. When Leeson is first coaching his team, he explains the basics of futures trading using salt, pepper and coffee cups, showing how they are betting on the future value of a commodity and aiming to make a profit by selling it at a higher price.

It‚(TM)s a welcome and reasonable explanation, but as the film barrels forward these layman‚(TM)s-term scenes are too few and far between. When it tries to explain what is going on, the film conveys it in an incoherent way: in one scene, Leeson talks to himself while hitting a punch bag, hitting it so hard and so often that we can only make out odd words. It is possible to explain something this complex without resorting entirely to exposition, but the film seems even less interested in the mechanics of trading than Leeson was.

This problem is compounded by the early scenes, which have an obnoxious, geezer-y feel to them. During Leeson‚(TM)s early successes, we get numerous montages of him trawling around Singapore in a Porsche or entering drinking competitions. Even if Leeson‚(TM)s life really was like this, these scenes jar so prominently with the supposedly serious intentions of the film that it can feel like there are two different stories going on one ‚" one about the stock market, the other about Club 18-30.

One could argue that the film is intending to paint our protagonists as obnoxious, to reinforce the hollow basis of their lifestyle and the unenviable behaviour it produces. This works up to a point, but because the film is based on Leeson‚(TM)s memoirs, it has a sympathetic vie, if not of the system as a whole, then of his personality within it. The film may be more ambiguous about his personal financial decisions, and his choosing to lie to cover his tracks, but it is never brave enough to suggest any kind of link between Leeson‚(TM)s personality and the consequences of his actions.

The film is also riddled with clich√ (C)s, presenting a very hackneyed picture of both the trading floor and Barings Bank. Leeson is the archetypal fast-talking Cockney, whose catchphrase is something along the lines of ‚everything will be alright‚?. When he first enters the bank to sort out the bonds, the cell bars slide back in front of his face ‚" a shot that was already old when The Silence of the Lambs did it eight years earlier. His team wear horrible, tacky jackets on the trading floor, communicating with outlandish gestures, while his bosses are all stiff-upper-lipped, haughty, public school types. Add in an excitable Australian spouting business jargon and Anna Friel‚(TM)s oblivious wife, and you get a clear picture of a writer who isn‚(TM)t trying very hard.

Rogue Trader also falls short on a technical level. Dearden‚(TM)s direction is workmanlike, but his editing is frequently slapdash. His frequent use of quick cuts on the trading floor make things feel more like a music video, and his choice of angles is occasionally silly. We don‚(TM)t need to see Leeson‚(TM)s panicked expression from the other side of a computer screen, any more than we need a close-up of ‚~88888‚(TM) being typed in, as if we didn‚(TM)t get the point. The film ends up relying on Hartley‚(TM)s score to tell us when things are turning bad, and while that may be fine in a melodrama it doesn‚(TM)t work wonders here.

Having said all that, Rogue Trader does begin to pick up in its final act. After we have spent the best part of an hour trying to put up with clichà (C)s and platitudes, we start to get drawn in as we eventually appreciate just how bad things are. The turning point comes when Leeson stumbles into the toilets, checks that both cubicles are empty, and announced to his reflection that he has just lost £50m in one day.

From this point on there is a natural source of tension from the combination of the money involved and the time constraints, i.e. the bonuses and annual audit. The scene of Leeson having dinner with his bosses, knowing full well that he is draining their company dry, is very tensely orchestrated, and the dream sequence of Leeson owning up and the bankers choking works well. This is all slightly undercut by the airport scene, where Leeson imagines the photographers are his trading floor staff, and starts bidding in front of the press. But in general this kind of absurd interlude is the exception rather than the rule.

In terms of the performances, the cast do their best with second-rate material. Ewan McGregor has a habit of being the best thing in a bad movie, and he does have a believable sense of conviction even if we are not sure how much we should like him. Anna Friel is dealt a duff hand, having to spend a lot of her time being blissfully ignorant in mini-skirts, but she somehow carries herself with good grace. Out of the rest, only Tim McInnerny makes any impression, and he gets far too little screen time.

Rogue Trader is a sadly pedestrian telling of Nick Leeson‚(TM)s tragic tale. It has neither the comic spark of Trading Places nor the confidence of Wall Street or American Psycho, with regard to either the financial system or the pawns therein. The performances are likeable enough, and there is nothing offensively bad about the handling of the story. It needed to be told, but not in such a disappointing way.
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