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Archive for the ‘Margin Call’ Category

Margin Call – review

Margin Call 

PhotobucketMargin Call is the directorial debut from J.C. Chandor, who also wrote the script.  Chandor, like many directors before him, came from the world of directing music videos (a dying art form).  It follows the storyline of the collapse of an investment bank, over a 36 hour period during the financial crisis of 2008.  The film is set mostly within the headquarters of the bank and begins with a number of its employees getting laid off.  One of these is risk management employee Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci).  Dale, like most of the employees has been with the company for almost 20 years, but he’s getting pushed out as if he’s been there for 20 hours.  They seize all his work, shut off his company cell phone, and distance themselves as fast as humanly possible.  Before he is escorted out of the building though, he hands a jump drive over to one of his employees, Peter (Zachary Quinto, Star Trek). He tells Peter to be careful with this, and then exits the building.  What is on that jump drive is going to cause the whole thing to come crumbling down.

What I loved about the film is that it dealt with this issue through the eyes of just one bank during this 36 hour period.  There is this over-arching question of how all of this is going to affect the outside world, but it’s only hinted at.  We really just deal with the infrastructure of the bank and the positions that people are going to have to take when everything comes to a grinding halt.  Some people are going to have to take one for the team here, in order for the bank as a whole to attempt to keep some sort of glossy image.

The casting for this film is the highlight of it.  Tucci, Quinto, Paul Bettany, Kevin Spacey, Simon Baker, Demi Moore, and Jeremy Irons are all spot on in their roles.  They are all cogs at different levels in this organizational wheel.  The film starts at the bottom level of the organization, and as it goes on, and as the shit gets deeper, the powers that be that are higher in that organization have to be called in to deal with the issue.  It’s actually a genius portrayal of how the infrastructure of big business really works.  (Well that’s not my problem. We need to bring in this guy).  Some employees begin freaking out, while others just see this as just another period in time that, “this sort of thing just happens.”  In front of it all is the money.  The excessive bonuses and salaries that buy fancy cars, big houses, hookers and blow.  Where’s it all going to go?

Sometimes films that deal with this issue are extremely hard to understand and follow. (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps).  You’re not going to understand all of the financial algorithms that are going on that are essential causing a financial collaps, but director Chandor is able to use the knowledge, or lack there of, of the main characters to help us grasp just enough of this information to put all the pieces together.

This is one of those little sleeper gems in the world of film that reminds me how much I love to watch movies, and learn from them.  Riveting, and educating at the same time.

Grade:  A