REVIEW OF FEATURED ON AIN’T IT COOL NEWS 10/30/09
‘FLOORED': Documentary film that follows the chicago stock exchange, but more over is about the move from trading on the floors to trading on the screen (online trading). Director, James Allen Smith was there to introduce the film and for a Q&A and he discussed how the pre-prod/working title for the film was ‘The Way of the Carriage Maker’ because the change that traders were going through with technological advances was reminiscent of when automobiles started popping up and carriage makers had to make a decision to either make the switch to automobiles or be the best damn carriage maker they could be. That’s what this film is about. The traders Smith chooses to follow are those that are having trouble adapting to the technological trading sphere. We do get the perspective of online traders and those that have made the switch, but there is a sense that the passion that was there is gone. The documentary does a great job not only giving an overview of what floor trading was like, how it was established and it’s rise, which at it’s peak is closer to a scene from a rock n’ roll movie than the stock exchange. At the climax of floor trading that’s how these guys were treated, they were getting all the girls, bringing in all the money, drugs, alcohol, etc. Of course that’s not the primary focus of the film, that just happens to be part of the history. We see all these great traders who made a name for themselves by making fortunes within minutes, and possibly losing fortunes even quicker make the transition, struggle to continue trading on the floor or get out entirely. The characters are marvelous. smith chooses the right people to follow, because it’s the perfect mix of sad sappy people trying to adapt, angry at technology people refusing to adapt, online traders and absolute fucking psycho’s in the biz.
Smith was very modest about his film, but we had a few former floor traders in the crowd and they were very proud of what they just saw. A gentleman sitting in front of me had stepped out of the business at the tail end of the nineties (coinciding with the rise of the internet) and you could tell he had seen shit on the floor. His voice was very raspy and sounded like it was permanently hoarse from all the years of shouting out trades. the man said that the film was an accurate portrayal of his former business venture and passion. I know next to nothing about trading in general, but i enjoyed the hell out of the film and thought it was very well spoken, so to hear that those who have been on the floor appreciate is a good sign.
In addition to smith’s modesty he was accepting that he was not winning any audience awards for the film, especially sense ‘grown in detroit’ had won over everyone already, so instead to go online and vote for his film so it has the chance to play at other fests. i did just that and i hope that this review finds other audiences and film fests because it is a documentary film that needs to be shown and get as wide of a release as possible. It’s very strong, and seemingly very accurate and definitely a film that james allen smith is personally vested in. Smith is a director that not only has potential, but flexes his muscles with this film, showing his talent and strengths is linking these real people and situations together to create a well versed characters and a strong story line.