Photo: Rogue Trader, 1999 (Pathe)

Film Club: Rogue Trader (1999)

If there’s ever a movie that makes you not want to be a trader, it’s this one...


Ewan McGregor stars as the notorious derivatives broker Nick Leeson in this biopic of how one man singlehandedly bankrupted Barings Bank.

If you want to watch a movie that makes you feel sick to your stomach with dread and tension, then this is the one for you. It all starts out very promising for Nick; he gets a job at the bank, is promoted to a position in the Singapore division, meets a beautiful woman and gets married, and is becoming the star of the Asian markets. Nick’s outrageous ambition to please and the huge amount of pressure he is under ultimately led to his catastrophic downfall.

Rogue Traders: Nick Leeson

Nick’s likeable, golden-boy charm (expertly cast as McGregor) allows him to deceive and bullshit his way through covering up millions and millions of lost and ultimately stolen money, until he finds himself in a rabbit hole so deep not even Alice herself could have pulled him out.

However, you can’t help but feel sorry for Nick and his doe-eyed wife Lisa, played by Anna Friel. Not once do we see Nick reaping any of the benefits from these misplaced funds, in fact the only time we see him even let loose a little bit is when he gets arrested by the Singaporean enforcement for indecency after ‘mooning’ a few Singaporean girls. We almost forget his losses racked up to an incredible £800 million and forced a 200-year-old bank into foreclosure.

Our overall thought of this movie is it’s a little too slow and the drama is just not… awful enough, with the real impact of a criminal act downplayed far too much.

Best Part:

When Nick goes to prison. Is it just us or did you finally feel like you could breath at that point?

Worst Part:

When Nick is asked to go into the London office and show them his trading magic. Can someone get a defibrillator at the ready please?

Memorable Quote:

Tony Hawes: ‘He doesn’t do things by the book, Ron. He just doesn’t respect the rules. Is he really the kind of person we should be employing at Barings?’

Ron Baker: ‘Oh fuck the rules, Tony. It’s Barrow boys like Nick who are turning the City of London around. You can’t run a modern financial centre with a bunch of Hooray Henries.’

TraderLife Rating: