Wall Street's advantage was that it could show the high life because it had some money behind it. It showed a sort of fantasy world that looked sort of appealing yet horrific. High flying City trader Daniel Pascoe (Paul McGann) takes his status literally, travelling to work in a seaplane that probably used up the film's budget from the amount of times they show it. He also has a nice big mansion in Kent and happens to look wonderful. So things are pretty great, until one of the traders blows their brains out in the boardroom, leaving the company with a £100 million loss and an empty vacancy. Daniel believes he's a shoo-in until Anna Schuman (Rebecca de Mornay) turns up. She's blonde, American, and a woman, so we know she's evil and a bit of a whore. In fact, everyone in this film is, particularly Daniel. I think we're meant to believe that he leads an empty and superficial life but everything comes so easily to him that it's hard to sympathise. Even he doesn't seem bothered.
Well, there's always the cut-throat world of the trading floor to look forward to- if you can understand a word anyone's saying. Wall Street cleverly managed to balance jargon with drama, but Dealers consists of about thirty minutes (maybe more) of pure numbers that mean something to the characters but not the actors or the audience. How can you make a film about good-looking people who make piles of money dull?
The back of the DVD describes this as a 'yuppie thriller'. It's decidedly unthrilling- a mix of money, screwing, and people screwing others over for money. Daniel's obvious appeal is however tainted by his strangely psychotic attempts at wooing. When he's not going to clubs that consist of flashy lights and ten extras, he's refusing to fly a woman back to her house and gleefully tells her that the next town is four miles away, so she'll be forced to spend the night. He does one potentially romantic gesture and yet it's also oddly sinister- blowing up balloons through her letterbox so she'll wonder how all those balloons got there. Of course, you'd be deeply disturbed that someone had somehow broken in and put a load of balloons there but this doesn't bother him.
Potentially the film could have explored the human sacrifice of the game but it's only the older ones that suffer. If you're pretty like Daniel, you can balance your work with your love life, occasionally musing on the idea of a more relaxing life- ironically. The ultimate moral film of the message is that city trading may kill and ruin you but if you're pretty enough, you can saunter in, make a lot of money, and then saunter off, living it up on your riches.
What the film is really is 'yuppie porn'. The world of deals and numbers may be fascinating to a trader- the iniated- who maybe do live lives like this. They're probably watching Daniel and Anna's moves as research for how they will screw or screw over. To the average viewer, this is a shallow film with the only entertainment being some pretty faces and how easy it is to mock. In fact, I'm half tempted to create a drinking game based on this trash.