Risky Business is an 80’s teen film about capitalism and taking chances.


Joel Goodson played by Tom Cruise, in his first leading role, is a teen struggling with the pressures of making the grade. His parents are wealthy enough to own a Porsche and a lovely, sizable house. They leave Joel for a holiday and they tell him that they trust him, but remind him that there are still rules. To Joel his idea of rebelling is to drink his father’s rum while eating one of many frozen dinners left by his mum. Joel’s life is flown into high gear after his best friend Miles gives him advice. Miles basically tells Joel to occasionally take a chance, unbeknownst to him that Joel should take him too literally. Joel lacks confidence with woman, even in his dreams so he phones up a call girl named Lana, played by Rebecca De Mornay. Even while talking over the phone he is scared of what he is doing and he proceeds by cautiously talking to her through a hockey mask. She ends up staying at his house for days, hiding away from her pimp. Everything starts to go wrong for Joel. He starts to become a different man, one in which his new persona wears black sunglasses. He needs money to make up for his escalating mistakes, so for one night he becomes a capitalist. With the help of Lana’s prostitute friends, Joel’s house becomes a whorehouse, to his friends and whoever else he could sell sex to in his neighbourhood.


The director, Paul Brickman has such a vision for this film that it was unlike any teen film of it’s time. It deals with very adult themes while still feeling very innocent. It’s not a film where you object to the morals of characters whom freely pay for sex. It’s a satire in that way. It’s about Joel rolling the dice, taking the big risks to pay for the smaller ones. This film’s soundtrack is amazing. Tangerine Dream composed most of the soundtrack, with my favourite “Love on a Real Train”. Also hits like “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger, a track that is now known in conjunction with the scene as one of cinema’s most memorable, you know the one where Tom Cruise dances to it in just a shirt and socks.


Risky Business is thirty-two years old now but still remains fresh. It isn’t really weighed down with anything that can date it. You can still enjoy this film without being an 80’s film junkie like myself. Personally, Risky Business is one of my favourite films and I watch it yearly. I’ve even been meaning to buy a pair of Joel’s trademark sunglasses.


4/5 – Stars


Robert Ring

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