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Margin Call (2011)

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Follows the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis.

Director:

J.C. Chandor

Writer:

J.C. Chandor
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Popularity
1,853 ( 1,458)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Spacey ... Sam Rogers
Paul Bettany ... Will Emerson
Jeremy Irons ... John Tuld
Zachary Quinto ... Peter Sullivan
Penn Badgley ... Seth Bregman
Simon Baker ... Jared Cohen
Mary McDonnell ... Mary Rogers
Demi Moore ... Sarah Robertson
Stanley Tucci ... Eric Dale
Aasif Mandvi ... Ramesh Shah
Ashley Williams ... Heather Burke
Susan Blackwell ... Lauren Bratberg
Maria Dizzia ... Executive Assistant
Jimmy Palumbo ... Security Guard
Al Sapienza ... Louis Carmelo
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Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Be first. Be smarter. Or cheat.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 September 2011 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

El precio de la codicia See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$561,904, 23 October 2011, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,354,039, 12 May 2012

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$19,504,039, 31 December 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Moundsville Bridge mentioned by Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) actually exists. It was completed in 1986, which would have been twenty-two years before the debt crash of 2008, which is the subject of this movie. See more »

Goofs

Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) makes a mathematical error when he talks about how much time is saved by people using the bridge he built. He says 559,020 days are saved, but the correct number is 5,590,200. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Seth Bregman: Just like that? Jesus Christ! Are they going to do it right here?
Will Emerson: You guys ever been through this before?
Seth Bregman: No.
Will Emerson: It's best to keep your head down and ignore it. Keep your head down and go back to work.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Will Wilder is credited twice as Parking Coordinator in the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film '72: Episode #44.2 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Prelude, Op. 28, No. 15
Written by Frédéric Chopin (as Frederic Chopin)
Performed by Violetta Zambetti
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great psychological insight
16 October 2011 | by philipp82See all my reviews

The movie "Margin Call" depicts the events that immediately preceded the Financial Crisis in 2008 within a nameless Investment Bank. What I like especially about the movie is the fact that it doesn't try to explain the technical causes of the Financial Crisis but the psychological causes - human failures, which are the real cause for the Crisis: greed, egotism, ignorance. Many scenes in this movie deal with very little dialogue, instead the body language and the unique atmosphere speaks for itself. The ensemble is just brilliant, especially Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons.

The movie works solely from inside the nameless firm – apart from minor steps outside. It only portraits the people working inside this company - the "normal world" is completely left out. The effect is a very clever one: The life of these bankers seems totally severed from the outside world, they have no real connection with normal people and seem to – speaking exaggeratingly – lack an understanding of real human values, that there could be more behind life than just maximizing and making money. They are completely left behind in their own world, which somehow got out of control. Even when the imminent truth reveals and the consequences are becoming more clearer, it always feels like they are cut off; there is a scene in a taxi with Quinto and Badgley that underlines this.

But one can also witness the cold-blooded atmosphere in the system itself, where every person could easily be mistaken as a number. A key figure of the film, Eric Dale, who gets sacked in the beginning, is confronted with two managers in a scene like from "Up In The Air". Either are these women robots or have never experienced something like social warmth. One widely held position is that eventually bankers themselves didn't understand their own system and products with Derivatives and Futures, etc. anymore. Almost hilarious, but sadly true is the fact that many people in these companies seem to have no understanding of Economics and just got into their position due to influence or money. When they are sitting in their conference room and discuss the incident, it feels somewhat grotesque.

Although this movie works almost completely without music, the tension is so immense - thanks to the brilliant actors - that one is forced to focus.


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