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35 out of 48 people found the following review useful:
"So That...We...May...Survive!", 23 October 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So here goes my first review on IMDb.

This is a movie for those that want to see the human element when an investment bank realizes their models are wrong and that they are sitting on a large amount of assets worth less than they are currently marked at.

There are 2 errors that just about everybody is making about this movie, though. The first is that this movie is about the September 2008 financial crash. That is false. This movie is about the collapse of the CDO/MBS market in *2007*(what led to I-Banks going belly up in 08). That also didn't happen in 1 day(while there were some very bad days), it occurred over several months. Google "ABX Index" and select images and you'll see that for yourself. But for the interest of time and simplicity "Margin Call" simplified the actions of firms over those several months into 1 day and the actions of dozens(if not hundreds) of people into a handful which is understandable.

The second error is that this nameless firm is one of the I-banks that went under or was sold like Lehman, Bear, Merrill, etc. The movie is clearly (in my mind at least) modeled after Goldman Sachs. The first reason is because they are seen as the first I-bank to aggressively try to scale back their exposure to MBS. The second reason would be a spoiler, but lets just say that Goldman is pretty aggressive at "making way for new blood" relative to the others even though the movies depiction was way overblown.

I think many will be happy to know that the amount of "inside lingo" is kept to a minimum, but that doesn't mean that you will be able to understand a handful of things mentioned without a pretty good cursory knowledge of financial jargon. Don't worry though its not needed to understand the movie.

For those that are looking for a story depicting causes of the financial crisis this movie isn't it. If your looking for a movie depicting evil people conniving in a board room to screw over the public this isn't it.

This movie is about an analyst who discovers that the volatility assumptions in their MBS portfolio were false and that it could very easily take down the entire company. Its a movie depicting the increasingly suspenseful and gripping atmosphere when a firm realizes they are sitting on a large pile of illiquid assets worth less than they thought. Its a movie depicting the concern of particular players that their reputation will be shot when they are forced to market make assets that will "kill the market" for MBS.

Its a movie that depicts the actions of a firm "So that...they...may...survive."

Acting was great. Direction was great. Script was decent! Watch this movie if you want to understand the most accurate depiction so far of the types of characters inside Investment Banks during a scary period.