Technically superb, but some credibility problems
It's obvious that the screenwriter/director doesn't much like banks - and not many people do. You're only likely to get friendly attention from them when you have large sums of money to deposit, otherwise you are regarded as one the pests they have to put up with to get enough of the aforementioned type of customer - and they take sizeable fees from you for the privilege. The screenplay here is at its best when fuelling that perception, particularly by the attitudes of the bank's CEO, here portrayed (unnecessarily) as an American being pressured by the bank's directors to make higher profits (having closed most of the branches to achieve that wasn't enough). The guy is greed-driven and doesn't care about people. We get two cases of people's lives being ruined by the bank's loan foreclosures. So far so good. But some things don't quite square with reality - the mentality of bankers generally is not suited to gambling and a CEO isn't likely to test a mathematics whizzkid's theories with real money right at the start. It's improbable that a bank's board would agree to a gamble involving the bank's entire capital. Could the mathematics whizzkid really hide a previous identity so easily, and his real motivation as revealed at the end doesn't go with the ethical disinterest he shows throughout. But the film is very good on a technical level - the science presented (generally) suspends disbelief superbly, the characters are credible, acting passable and the editing is excellent. My acid test of a good film is whether it holds my attention throughout and this film certainly does that. 8 out of 10.
- Apr 20, 2002
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