Margin Call Review

Storyline: The key players at an investment firm become entangled during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. When entry-level analyst Peter Sullivan 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.

Genres: Drama / Thriller
Release Date: October 21st, 2011

My Review: With a star studded cast that includes Kevin Spacey , Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker,  Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Margin Call portrays a 24-hour run on the beginning of a financial crisis through the eyes of an investment firm. If I hadn’t watched the documentary Inside Job I probably wouldn’t have understood what was going on in the movie.  Inside Job highlights “the systemic corruption by the financial services industry” and it’s consequences and Margin Call ultimately supports this argument.

The beginning of the movie starts off intense and already draws you in. The contrasting of emotions in the beginning shows the reality of the situation. The firm lays off 80% of their staff, one being a senior risk analyst (Stanley Tucci), who is relatively calm until he exits the building, he angrily slams his phone to pieces while in the next scene, Kevin Spacey is emotional because his dog is dying, rather than being emotionally effected by the loss of staff.

The acting was completely solid. My favorites were Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Paul Bettany, they all had a ruthless attitude and held 3 different views.  As the head of the firm, Jeremy Irons carried an intimidating and powerful stance, so fitting for a boss. When the solution to the problem has finally been decided, Jeremy Irons points out “we’re salesmen, that’s what we do..It’s just pieces of paper with pictures on it, so we don’t have to kill each other to get something to eat.”  We see Kevin Spacey’s human side emerging towards the end of the movie where he stresses the negative impact of the boards decision and then unhappily decides to follow  through with the destructive plan. Paul Bettany, at one point, stressed that the people were also partially to blame; if they didn’t borrow so much money to cover the costs of their big houses and fancy cars there wouldn’t be a crisis.

Overall, it was a great movie and captures a glimpse of reality, 8/10.




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