You are attending a magic show, and as you step in it looks amazing; mystical decorations, cool lights, and intriguing costumes. Then the lead magician walks up on stage, asks for a volunteer and does the “I’ve got your nose” trick. Looked great, but you have been conned. Even with popular young actors, skilled artistic shots, and an intriguing theme, Billionaire Boys Club is the “I got your nose trick.”
Based on true events, the film follows young partners Joe Hunt (Ansel Elgort) and Dean Karny (Taron Egerton) who attempt a shot at fast money in order to join society’s elite class. As the partners create their investment company/society, they slowly cross every line and quickly find themselves amidst drugs, fraud, kidnapping, and even murder.
What is most interesting to audiences is the intriguing dynamics of the club that these boys created. Beyond these dynamics, the film’s plot is a downhill ride.
The film spends so much time on who took money from whom and how much this person owed to that person, rather than cutting out half of that and getting straight to the point. Many of the scenes ran too long and made for an uneven pace throughout the film.
The film’s biggest issue, however, has to be the script. The lines were quite cliché; “the only difference between investment and a ponzi scheme is how it ends” or “the truth is the best lie.” The fact that almost the entire story is being told by a voice over by Dean Karny did not help the film at all.
A major plus to this film its impeccable framing and cinematography. That being said, the film’s beautiful shots were sadly underappreciated and sidelined by the other negative aspects of the film.
As for the acting, Ansel Elgort delivers a very admirable performance and proves, once again, that he is not just a kid with a killer smile and handsome looks. Elgort was able to strike the balance between a genius and a truly talented salesman, and his speeches (not their content) were noteworthy with regards to his performance of them. Taron Egerton also did a very good job with his role, and was able to capture emotions like fear and ruthlessness magnificently. Emma Roberts played Joe Hunt’s girlfriend, Sydney Evans, but her role was quite sidelined; the audience barely got to see any of her known acting chops. As for Kevin Spacey playing the rich investor/mentor to the boys, his performance showed the skills that everyone knows he has, but every time he popped on screen the words “Me Too” come to mind and a gag reflex naturally surfaces.
This film had so much going for it and so much going against it. Billionaire Boys Club ends up being just another film, where you will probably remember three things: Ansel Elgort’s performance, the appearance of Kevin Spacey, the scandal attached to Spacey’s name, and how much the film tries (but fails) to be another Wolf of Wall Street.