A respected financial company is downsizing and one of the victims is the risk management division head, who was working on a major analysis just when he was let go. His protégé completes the study late into the night and then frantically calls his colleagues in about the company's financial disaster he has discovered. What follows is a long night of panicked double checking and double dealing as the senior management prepare to do whatever it takes to mitigate the debacle to come even as the handful of conscientious comrades find themselves dragged along into the unethical abyss. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
J.C. Chandor said that he wrote the script for the story he had been carrying around in his head for about a 'year-and-a-half' in just four days, filling time between job interviews in Boulder, Colorado. See more »
When Eric Dale is fired, he's told his systems access, email and phone will be terminated immediately. And yet when he returns to his office, his screen is clearly still logged into his user account/email. See more »
It's difficult to review Margin Call. Those of us who were close to the events of 2008 will find something personal in the story-telling. Others may see it as more examples of greed and hubris. In any case, the following observations apply to both groups.
The performances are top notch. Everyone from Zachary Quinto to Demi Moore brings their A-game. Even supporting characters are oddly fleshed out for a film with such an ensemble cast. Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany give the performances of their careers, I think. Only the Jeremy Irons character (John Tuld, aka Dick Fuld) feels a bit over the top, while the rest are truly believable well-rounded depictions.
Despite having good characters and amazing cinematography, the film lacks plot. The backdrop and setting are tense, but this doesn't feel like a "movie" in the traditional sense. There's no evolution of characters, no arcs, and the ending may leave some wanting. You can compare it to Michael Mann films where plot and pace are unconventional.
Not sure how the film will perform commercially, given the material is esoteric. If you're a film buff (and enjoy great performances) or you've been in finance, this is a must-see. Other may likely pass.
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