MARGIN CALL (2011)
Written and directed by J.C. Chandor
MARGIN CALL is a star-studded boardroom thriller depicting the 24 hour meltdown which contributed to the financial crisis of 2008.
In an unnamed Wall Street investment firm, 80% of the staff are made redundant in a bid to tighten the company’s belt. One of those cut from the firm is Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), the risk manager who worked at the company for 19 years. During a very brief, cold and formal meeting, Eric is forced to leave the premises immediately, with all access to work email and phone instantly disabled. Before he leaves, Eric passes on a USB data drive to his loyal junior analyst, Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto), and asks him to take a look at the files he had been working on before his abrupt cull.
Staying after hours, Peter curiously starts to work on Eric’s figures and after adding some missing pieces to the puzzle, discovers a financial-shattering issue that could destroy the company completely.
Calling in his bosses, Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) and Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), David’s discovery proves critical to the ecnomomy, and after instructions from the CEO, John Tuld (Jeremy Irons), the company must decide to sell it’s worthless positions in mortgage-backed securities off and cause others to go out of business or ultimately go under themselves.
I’ll start off by saying I’m no boffin in finance or the kind. I’m a mere movie buff and whilst a section of this film went over my head, the majority of it was explained in layman’s terms for both myself and the bosses in the film, who are incapable of understanding financial facts and figures. This says a lot when you think about the fact this film is based on reality.
MARGIN CALL is J.C. Chandor’s directorial debut and a cracking one it is too. Also serving as writer, Chandor has created a tense, on-the-edge drama that will you have you gripped from beginning to end. It’s an intelligent look at not only the start of the credit crisis, but also how the people inside the company bubble handled it. Not everyone in the film are heartless, money-grabbing suits. The ones with a sense of moral obligation and with a weaker position in the firm are the first to be thrown to the dogs, despite the fact they warned the company’s culprits many months previously about their overzealous investment structure.
With a cast to die for, MARGIN CALL does not put a foot wrong. Heroes’ star Zachary Quinto plays the bright, young analyst, who decided on a career as an analyst, instead of that of a rocket scientist, due to the money being “much more attractive” on Wall Street. Such brains are gone to waste in return for huge wages for doing very little. Kevin Spacey plays the floor boss and the viewer is very sympathetic to his character as he struggles to commit to the unscrupulous act of selling off worthless product just to save themselves, whilst watching everyone else fall into the credit crunch canyon. Paul Bettany is enjoyable to watch as senior analyst, Will, who too must do the dirty work of their ruthless British CEO, Jeremy Irons. It makes me laugh how the big bad boss always turns out to be a Brit. As previously mentioned, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore play their parts to perfection as bosses of the Risk Management division and Demi’s character must take the ultimate fall.
This is a very interesting film in the fact that we rarely leave the company building. We see the lives of these people played out before out very eyes, from surviving a mass dismissal to encountering the devastating financial collapse just a few hours later. The film is beautifully shot and emcompasses the heightened emotions as the enormity of the issue descends upon the suits.
An intelligent, ecnomic, corporate thriller.
· Revolving Door: Making Margin Call
· Deleted Scenes
· Deleted Scenes with Commentary
· Missed Calls; Moments with Cast & Crew
· From the Deck: Photo Gallery