Review - Traders
By midlandsmovies, Jul 30 2016 08:01AM
Traders (2016) Dir. Rachael Moriarty & Peter Murphy
Set amongst the financial collapse of the banking system in Ireland, Traders is a new low budget independent film looking at masculinity and toxic lifestyles in extreme circumstances. Harry Fox (Killian Scott) is a wealthy trader with all the lifestyle perks who moves into a menial administrative job after losing his high-paying role owing to the economic downturn. With the return of his company car and his home at risk of repossession, Harry is on the brink of his own emotional collapse before his colleague Vernon Styles (John Bradley), who is in the same position, proposes a perilous solution to their woes.
Vernon is an overweight live-with-mum stereotype who dreams up a Fight Club-esque answer to their problems by putting forward a precarious plan involving a risky battle to the death between consenting adults. His suggestion is for two combatants, who both put up a stake of money, to scrap to the death with the winner burying the other and walking away with the combined cash.
These “trades” mirror their previous financial risk-taking, with the protagonists themselves stating their high-paying employment was like a “duel” as they utilise the dark web to arrange their brawls.
A taught and efficient thriller, the acting is solid – although a little wooden at time – but the stock characters work well for the 90-minute run time. Mark Wahlberg-alike Killian Scott is a compelling protagonist despite his characters’ dirty deeds – which aren’t done dirt cheap – as traders sell their luxury goods and steal money to compete.
Killian does a god job of showing Harry’s development from early reticence to someone who gets a taste for the nasty rewards. The film’s language corresponds to the money markets as “victories”, “stakes” and “risks” all become part of the fights whilst the losses are manifested in a physical purging and a shortfall of humanity.
A ballsy film debut, Traders shows the lengths some people will go to maintain their lifestyle and the satisfaction gained from greedy gambles. Its streamlined story is a refreshing change from modern film lengths and doesn’t allow the audience to be distracted by its admittedly absurd set up. A little bit more cinematic flair was needed to lift the film from its TV-budget roots but the straight ahead narrative of Traders leaves no time for any “baggy” exposition in its deconstruction of the business of brutality.
Midlands Movies Mike