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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 September 2013
Every major actor has a film or two which don't relieve the full credit they deserve, 'Rogue Trader' is one of Ewan McGregor's.

The film is a very informative account of the real life story of Nick Leeson, the infamous working class trader whose's financial risk-taking destroyed Barings Bank in the nineteens. It's isn't a documentary style film, but a compelling insight into Nick Lesson's world. With it based on such an interesting story, there is plenty of suspense and excitement throughout. 'Rogue Trader' is based on Leeson's memoirs of the same name and takes you on journey from the heyday of his criminal activities up to his arrest.

Ewan McGregor is excellent in this plum role, I can't even think of an actor who could have played it better, his acting was realistic and he looked the part of a banker. In fact, the character of Nick is so likable on screen, I was actually hoping for him to get away with his ambitious schemes at times. Of course, we know that (rightly) didn't happen.

'Rogue Trader' is a neglected gem in Ewan McGregor's filmography. An interesting story, a well done film and a terrfic performance from the always versatile Ewan.

Nick Leeson by the way is now an in-demand after-dinner and conference speaker.
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on 26 October 2003
This film tells the true story of Nick Leeson, the floor trader on Simex Singaopre, who singly handedly broke Barings Bank, in the mid '90's. Of how one mans ambition was overcome by pressures, and in turn, reckless gambling.
An incredible aspect of this case was to me, how Leeson covered up for so long, and hoodwinked so many, who it seemed, according to the film, were so wrapped up in their own company rhetoric they simply wanted to believe in Leeson. The regional manager in Singapore had never even heard of the name of the brokerage house Leeson used to "invent" a trade to cover the missing and ever increasing deficit being incured in the "88888" account, a supposed customer account, but in reality, an back office error account.
The pace of the story is very well done here. My only gripe is, for a film with excellent supporting cast, why did they take so little care over the choice of the leading players? McGreggor is convincing as Leeson only when the sickly scenes with his wife are not on screen, the hoplessly miscast Lisa.
Some may find the numerous and fast financial terms not easy to follow. But a fascinating story, with great use of background music.
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on 18 February 2001
After reading the book, I wasn't sure what this film would offer. However Ewan McGreggor made the character of Nick Leeson come to life and brought all of the thrill of the story into my living room! I agree with the other viewers in that Lisa's character was poorly acted in the film and does not accurately reflect the intelligence and passion which Lisa felt for Nick. I would recommend you buy this film, it is certainly worth the money as a companion to the book - you can watch it time after time and still see something new in it everytime. Good luck Nick!
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Rogue Trader is a surprisingly slick and enjoyable number just as long as you can overlook its very distant relation to truth about the downfall of Barings Bank in the wake of massive losses and fraud perpetrated by one of its Singapore traders. There's at least two generations who grew up never realizing that producer David Frost used to a vicious satirist, and this is the movie equivalent of one of his interviews, going along with his subjects' account of events no matter how outrageous the excuses become: here he seems to have blown several million pounds providing a celluloid alibi for a dodgy dealer. Thus Ewan McGregor's Nick Leeson becomes a loveable cockney who only got into this mess to save a bullied colleague's job and to save managements' bonuses without disappointing his wife or the memory of his dear old mum. You keep on expecting him to break out into a chorus of Chim Chiminey or start dancing with animated penguins (he's certainly got the blazer for it). Still, with recent events in France the film has aquired a new topicality.

Not much money went into the DVD - just a fullframe transfer and trailer.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 November 2012
The good thing about this films is it can be enjoyed on several different levels. I don't mean that in an artistic pretentious way, I mean for example there's a whole morality issue developing here, there's also a little bit of the mechanics of trading explained, and there's simply the drama of the film. For example you don't have to understand the concept of margin calls to enjoy the film not do you have to be an economist to understand what Nick Leeson was trying to do in making the market. It's an easily understood film and the resulting behaviour and crises that develops can be facinating for anyone and everyone on many levels. The morality of what happened is another concept all together. Good film. I'm just let my son who's started economics and is having thoughts of being a broker, watch this. It's a good film for showing how things can quickly spiral out of control and the fear and greed of the markets can be seen clearly. Compulsive watching for anyone aspiring to go into this world.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 February 2016
I don't have youth on my side, as regards Nick Leeson's quote that headlines this small review, but I was hungry for a good film and I didn't have a clue about what it would be like!

Rogue Trader is the story of how wide boy Nick Leeson brought about the downfall of Barings Merchant Bank, one of the most financially historical institutions in London. A fictionalised adaptation from Leeson's own autobiography, the potential for a potent insight into insider trading et al is wasted. Instead we get a film of baffling trader chatter, newspaper like direction from James Dearden, and performances outside of Ewan McGregor as Leeson, that are distinctly unbelievable.

Those who work in the industry this involves are sure to find some rewards, but to the outsiders peeking in to hopefully learn whist being entertained, it's a damp financial squib. 5/10
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 February 2016
“Rogue Trader” is a movie that is based on a true story. Here is some basic information about it:

** Directed and written by James Dearden
** Shown in theatres in 1999
** Released on DVD in 2000
** Run time: 97 minutes

This film is the story of Nick Leeson who caused the downfall of Barings Bank, the oldest family-owned investment bank in Britain, in 1995. It is based on his autobiography Rogue Trader, that was written while he was in prison in Singapore and published in 1996 (an updated version appeared in 2015).

[Please note: there may be some spoilers ahead, but all facts mentioned in this review are part of the public record, and therefore they can hardly be described as spoilers.]

The cast includes the following:

** Ewan McGregor as Nick Leeson
** Anna Friel as Lisa Leeson
** John Standing as Peter Baring
** Caroline Langrishe as Ash Lewis

Nick Gleeson (born 1967) began to work for Barings Bank while he was a young man. His first overseas job came when the bank sent him to Jakarta, Indonesia, to sort out an economic problem. While working on this case, he met Lisa who became his wife. In 1992, once the case in Jakarta was completed, the bank sent him to Singapore where he was put in charge of the trading floor.

During his first year he was lucky and made a lot of money for his bank, but after this things began to change. He failed and borrowed money from the bank to cover his loss. He hoped to make more money and repay the bank, but instead he lost again and the deficit became bigger and bigger. Amazingly, he was able to keep the bank and the authorities in the dark for a long time.

By 1995 the game was up. Nick and Lisa left Singapore and travelled to neighbouring Malaysia. While in Malaysia, they learned that Barings bank had collapsed. Nick’s transactions had caused a loss of more than 800 million pounds. They tried to get back to England, but they could not get a direct flight. They only got as far as Germany. They were caught by the police when they landed in Frankfurt. Nick was arrested and later extradited to Singapore where he was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

While Nick was in prison, Lisa divorced him. To make matters worse, he was diagnosed with cancer. Because of this he was released from prison in 1999, having served four and a half years of his sentence. When he was released, he returned to England. He survived the cancer and he is still alive. Today he lives in Ireland, where he has three children with his second wife.

The collapse of Barings bank in 1995 was a warning of what can happen if a bank is allowed to operate without any serious oversight. The collapse of Enron in 2001 was a warning of what can happen if a large corporation is allowed to operate without any serious oversight. Unfortunately, these warnings were not understood. When the financial crisis came in 2008, most observers were caught by surprise.

“Rogue Trader” focuses on Nick’s life and career in Singapore, i.e. the time from 1992 to 1995. There is almost nothing about his life and career before 1992, and only one brief scene after his arrest in Germany in 1995 where we see him behind bars in Changi Prison in Singapore.

There are several minor flaws in the film:

# 1. When Nick and his friend are driving a Porsche, they are wearing seat belts, when we see them from the front, but when we see them from the side, they are not.

# 2. The signs used by Nick and the other traders on the trading floor, are homemade. They do not correspond to the signs used by real traders.

# 3. When Nick is in a bar, a song is playing in the background. The scene takes place in 1995, but the song is from 1997.

# 4. In one scene where Nick faxes a letter, we can see the fax machine that is used. The scene takes place in 1994, but the fax machine is from 1996.

# 5. In another scene where Nick faxes a letter, we can see the date of his message: 2 February 1995. A few minutes later, we see Nick watching CNN on television. The CNN report is about the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, which happened on 17 January 1995. This means the date on the fax message is wrong. It should have been a few days before 17 January 1995.

“Rogue Trader” received mixed reviews. On IMDb it has a rating of 63 per cent, but on Rotten Tomatoes it has a rating of only 30 per cent. I think a rating of 63 per cent is too high. I understand the critical reviews and I agree with them. This film is based on a true story, but unfortunately, it is not told very well.

The leading actors are not well-chosen: Ewan McGregor does not look like the real Nick Leeson at all. Many reviewers feel that Anna Friel gives a poor performance as Lisa. I agree with them. In addition, there are several minor flaws, as I have explained above. Therefore this film cannot get more than two stars.

PS # 1. Nick Leeson has an official website where you can find additional information about his life and career.

PS # 2. The following articles about the case are available online:

** “Barings collapse at 20: How rogue trader Nick Leeson broke the bank,” the Guardian, 24 February 2015

** “Twenty years on, is Nick Leeson really sorry for breaking the bank?” the Telegraph, 21 February 2015

** “Barings: The collapse that erased 232 years of history,” the Telegraph, 23 February 2015

PS # 3. For information about the financial crisis of 2008, see the following package which includes five programs broadcast by Frontline: Economic Meltdown (2013).
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on 10 July 2000
I enjoyed the film as a skate over the events leading up to Leeson's arrest. Some of the more interesting parts of the episode actually occurred after his arrest and it's a pity that time constraints on film can never do that justice. The suspicion, accusations and ramifications on the people associated with Leeson, after he fled. Danny (Argyropoulos) was not authentically portrayed either as he is, and was, teetotal.
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on 12 September 2010
Follows the book quite closely. Should have been more about the characters personal life. It is clear that Nick Leeson could have avoided all his problems but the combination of very poor management (no separation between trading and settlement) and Nick Leesons risk seeking mentality was explosive.
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on 14 December 2013
For viewers more interested in this story, I suggest Nick Leeson's autobiography which the film is based upon. The book has valuable nuggets like his claim that the BoE's report(him, the lone scapegoat)and the SFO's inquiry were canards lacking the due diligence of the Singaporean investigation & subsequent report.

"Most of us enter the investment business for the same sanity-destroying reasons a woman becomes a prostitute: it avoids the menace of hard work, is a group activity that requires little in the way of intellect, and is a practical means of making money with no special talent for anything else."
--Richard Ney, "The Wall Street Jungle'"
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