Monday, July 11, 2016

TRADERS (2015) (Blu-ray Review)

TRADERS (2015) 

Label: Dark Sky Films 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 90 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-MA 5,1 Surround with Optional English Subtitles  
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1)
Directors: Rachel Moriarty, Peter Murphy
Cast: Killian Scott, John Bradley, Nika McGuigan, Peter O'Meara, Barry Keoghan

Synopsis: In this fast-paced and twisty thriller, newly unemployed Vernon (John Bradley, Game of Thrones) refuses to toil away in an average job in a crumbling economy and instead masterminds a diabolical, all-or-nothing plan… Trading. In Trading, Vernon brings together two anonymous and equally desperate individuals to liquidate their assets, bring the cash to a remote location – and fight to the death. The winner walks away with everything. When Trading becomes an alarmingly popular underground phenomenon, Vernon becomes a participant in the very game that he created.

When the money firm they work for goes belly-up and loses millions of dollars overnight Harry (Killian Scott) and Vernon (John Bradley, Game of Thrones) find themselves unemployed and blacklisted from working in their chosen fields of day trading. Chubby bean counter Vernon immediately sets to work on a new start-up business, something he calls "trading". An anonymous online site where two "traders" meet-up at a pub with a cash pot of equal value in a duffel bag, from there they meet in a rural area away from prying eyes and fight to the death, the winner walks away having doubled his money, the loser lays in a shallow grave. 

Yeah, this is pretty dark stuff, it is also played with a vein of black humor but the directors strike a good balance of visceral thriller and black comedy, with the comedy just below the surface. John Bradley plays a chubby schlub with a dark money making idea very well, his counterpart is the much better looking and physically fit Killian Scott as Harry, who Vernon first enlists into the trading group after some beers and conversation. The first "trade" doesn't go as planned with Vernon deciding to back out at the last minute. Harry spares his life  but this is a decision he will only come to regret. While Vernon recovers from his wounds Harry carries on trading, doubling his money with each new "trade", leaving a string of shallow graves in his wake. Along the way he takes up with a woman that Vernon has long had a crush on, that along with Harry's success at trading only serves to make Vernon feel he has been cheated, leading up to all sorts trouble and of double-crosses for Harry. 

The movie is a dark commentary on the greed of our culture but it doesn't dwell on it, it's inherent to the material but this is played for visceral thrills, not bogged down with the social commentary. The "trades" are handled well, subscribing to the two men enter one man leaves method of combat, there are a few nice surprises now and again, one trader brings a length of chain to the fight which proves hard to get around for Harry who prefers more direct hand-to-hand combat. Another trader turns out to be a woman , a trade which Harry initially walks away from, until she trash-talks him and offers some pre-trade sex ...which is rudely interrupted by an increasingly irratable Vernon. 

Special Features: 
- Audio Commentaries
- The Cost of Living: Making of
- Trailers

The movie is dark and violent with a streak of black humor I really enjoyed, The movie comes off as part Fight Club, and part Wallstreet and is an engrossing watch, it paints a macabre portrait of the world we live in. While I found the logic a bit flawed I swallowed it within the reality it created, desperate people accustomed to a certain lifestyle and the lengths to which they would go to secure it at any cost.