Traders is the kind of satire that given 5 years might actually be viewed as a documentary.
If it doesn’t already exist on certain darker parts of the internet that is.
It’s rules are simple. Sell everything you own, place the cash in a green bag. Then, you meet someone else with a green bag and fight to the death. Winner gets both bags.
Of course before the fight you leave a suicide note stating that you intend to drown yourself so that the police don’t come after the winner. And obviously, the first rule of trading is that you don’t talk about trading!
I seriously enjoyed this film. I loved the bleak, realistic way that it’s shot, the sparing use of narration, the fact that the fight scenes are brutal and un co-ordinated as they would be in real life. I even liked the fact that the rules explained why it seems that the entire police force has taken the year off.
The always excellent Killian Murphy (71, Ripper Street) plays an ordinary man who gets sucked into the world of trading (he also has a job that mysteriously vanishes halfway through the film) and whilst I buy him as a man who could get addicted to kill… er… Trading, I was so grateful for his inner monologue as, well, he’s not the biggest talker.
And of course EU Film Funding directive 04027 means that this films obligatory Game of Thrones actor (and person who comes up with the whole idea) is… Sam? Really? I get that Charles Dance might be a bit pricey but Ramsay Bolton isn’t doing much these days. I just didn’t buy him as a criminal mastermind. He does what he can with the role, but it’s a bit of a miscast in my mind.
And after a while, it becomes clear that as a satire about people beating each other to death for the contents of a green bag (It has to be green- the rules say so.) it’s not really got many teeth. The Traders themselves could do with more fleshing out as they barely register before being ‘Traded.’
I feel like this would have worked better as a TV series, with each episode featuring a new Trader, exploring how they’ve gotten to the point where this seems like a good idea before dealing with Killian’s character as well as examining the society that this takes place in. And maybe some police officers examining these sudden jump in suicides.
One final nit-pick, and this one is seriously petty, I didn’t like that Killian’s character has a name. In that film that this one will be compared to, the main character is un-named, making it easier for us to insert ourselves into the character and it would have been so easy to do in this film. Maybe for the TV show.
Whilst Traders has flaws I did like it and it’s rare for a film to even attempt what this film does.
With a few tweaks I could see this being an undeniable classic. As it is?
My Score- See It