In this revealing documentary about the commodities market, James Allen Smith tries to untangle the knots of shouting men on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. The big swinging dicks he interviews are eager to celebrate their high-risk, high-adrenaline lifestyle (“I call the market a whore—it’s out to fuck as many people as it can”). But Smith also shows how computerized trading signaled the end of an era for these sharp-elbowed operators: back in 1997, some 10,000 open-outcry traders worked the floor, but that number has since dwindled to about a thousand. Many old-timers couldn’t make the transition to monitoring a screen all day, and they look back on the big change with bitterness and bewilderment. Smith seems unsure what to make of the September 2008 financial collapse and wraps up shortly afterward, but until then this is a memorable portrait of men whose experience buying and selling futures hardly
prepared them for what their own future held in store.