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Rogue Trader

January 3, 2011

Rogue Trader (1999)
Director: James Dearden
Actors: Ewan McGregor, Anna Friel, Tim McInnerny

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Synopsis: Nick Leeson (Ewan McGregor) conducts a series of risky trades in the Far East, which ultimately bring down Barings Bank.

ReviewRogue Trader‘s subject matter is the equivalent of cinematic gold-dust with its story of how lowly commodities trader, Nick Leeson, brought down the historic Barings Bank in 1995 with a series of ‘rogue trades’ in the Far East market. Though successful in its base remit of bringing that gripping story to life, Rogue Trader fails to achieve any greater level of insight or lucidity. In fact, the whole thing smacks of a mediocre TV drama in terms of its directorial craft and acting, with Ewan McGregor’s woeful miscasting and awful mockney interpretation of the ballsy Leeson proving the film’s nadir. The most interesting element to watching Rogue Trader some ten years after its initial release, is how the moral of Barings’ downfall as a form of “Emperor’s New Clothes” for investment banking and working the stock market went completely unheeded, and led us into an even greater catastrophe a decade on with the near-complete meltdown of the Western world’s financial institutions. (January 2011)

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