Set in the high-stakes world of the financial industry, feature is an entangling thriller involving the key players at an investment firm during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. When an entry-level analyst unlocks information that could prove to be the downfall of the firm, a roller-coaster ride ensues as decisions both financial and moral, catapult the lives of all involved to the brink of disaster.
Effective, intelligent, timely, morality tale thriller about the money markets
- Margin Call review by PV
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You rated this film: 5
This is the sort of film I could happily watch all over again after a first viewing - it's intelligent, well written and directed, and oh so timely about how betting on the moeny markets created credit and free money, and the subsequent 2008 crash.
It is shame there is no 'subtitles' option on the DVD - some dialogue is drowned out, and with complex financial stuff like this, it's worth watching the film again with hard of hearing subs. I had to rewind in some scenes to make sure I heard all the mumbled and fast dialogue.
The screenplay for this is intelligent and excellent - though on occasion some may find it a little preachy (as if characters are presenting a paper in a college class) - and the characterisations of those working in the money markets is spot on.
But why oh why oh why do they (as in Hollywood) have to use a British actor to play the bad guy always?! Jeremy Irons is a good 'baddie' actor, and one could say he's balanced by the nicorette-chewing unlikeable but goodie character of Paul Bettany, but perhaps if Hollywood always used blacks or Jews as bad guys, it would be called sort of, er, racist?
Fact is this: it was the easy credit that came out of Wall Street and the US government's deregulation of the money markets in the 1990s that precipitated the financial crash of 2008. Blaming the British is as silly as the anti-Brit nonsense about the Gulf Oil disaster (also caused by US govt deregulation).
Kevin Spacey is always a joy to watch - and I loved the arc of his character - and the dog. I also loved all the references to bridge-building, digging, real work versus the better paid non-useful work of being a trader on the markets. Hammered home at times, but still effective as a contrast - and true too.
So, despite the anti-British racism, this movie gets 4.5 stars rounded up. Recommended.
I found this film a pleasure with its very intelligently written, played and directed script. I will not spoil it here by summarising the plot as that is done in the film description. Written and directed by J C Chandor, the very well thought out script and well chosen players bring the plot alive. Kevin Spacey with a good script is always a joy to watch. I guess for me because the film does not have a general Hollywood bad guy, it makes the story more real and therefore more enjoyable. Human minds assess Life differently and of course we make mistakes; which can be part of Life. But it is how we as individuals cover up or push responsibility onto others to protect ourselves and positions. So I give the film top marks!
In 2008, a Wall Street investment bank has come to the realization that they’re going down. Way down. And if they don’t solve it themselves, no one will. And if there’s anyone to solve it, it’s them. Why? Because they’re the only ones who ‘understand’ what’s going on. ‘Margin Call’ may be the film that puts into perspective the Wall Street crash that has domino-ed into the Occupy Wall Street protests in the US. ‘Margin Call’ tries to explain what happened. It’s not a guarantee that the audience will understand the explanation.
Written and directed by J.C. Chandor, ‘Margin Call’ is whip-smart, very insider, and finely acted by an equally fine cast. The claustrophobia of the film is a great device to keep the tension rising within the confines of a New York office. Nobody goes out, everyone sits around discussing things, their once dapper suits and dresses come undone by the ending, and it works marvelously.
With only 24 hours to ‘solve’ the investment bank’s major problem (it has been said that it is modeled after Lehman Brothers), higher-ups who have no idea what they’re doing, and no hero in sight to save the day, ‘Margin Call’ becomes an on edge corporate melodramatic thriller. How about that?
A standout performance can be said of Zachary Quinto as a risk analyst who can actually use math to find the solution to all their woes. Turns out Quinto’s character earned a PhD in physics and who knew nerds could be so useful in not staging a market crash? ‘Margin Call’ shows the manipulative nature of Wall Street people, their divisive and matter-of-factness for issues that they feel will only affect them, without regard for the 1 percent. Writer-director Chandor makes no heroes or villains of the story, the resolution is no better, and it’s really just a showcase for his actors (and actress, Demi Moore is in it) to inhabit their characters and show off what they’re made of. They deliver and put all the puzzle pieces in place to reveal a blurry bigger picture.