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- Director: J.C. Chandor
- Release Date: Dec 2011
- Run Time: 109
- Genre: Mystery & Suspense
We were bound to get a movie depicting the 2008 financial crisis that led to a near depression. Well, at least with Margin Call it is now over and done with. The movie lacks the stimulation of a good drama though the actors, most well-known, do their best to bring the characters to real life, possibly the only saving grace of this movie.
The movie begins with scenes showing that a massive retrenchment has been conducted at the firm. (A strong hunch tells me “the firm” is a depiction of Lehman Brothers) One of the employees to go id Eric Dale (layed by Stanley Ducci) who is the head of risk management. He had worked loyally and faithfully for quite a number of years at the firm so his departure, which is depicted as cruel and void of emotion, evokes sympathy from the audience. Before he leaves, he gives his former reportee Peter (Zachary Quuinto) a flash stick with an unfinished project.
He also warns him to be careful, and this makes Peter all the more curious to work on the project. He later on completes the project and to put it simply, he discovers that the firm will suffer a loss greater than its entire market value if their mortgage-backed securities decrease by 25%. This being a larger-than-life crisis for the wall-street professionals, he alerts his boss and this begins the series of senior-level meetings to figure out their next move to prevent this from happening.
The movie then takes place in what is meant to be a tension-filled 24 hour time span. To save the firm and of course to secure their fat pay-checks, the senior executives then proceed with the decision to sell off all their toxic assets. The effect of this is to destabilize the entire financial sector and crush the firm’s good relationships with its clients and stakeholders. No surprises here, as the rich and powerful always do what is necessary to save themselves from financial ruin, no matter the cost. I think where the movie went wrong is that the writers got carried away and got too technical with a large chunk of the script and this excludes a majority of the audience who to put it boldly, do not understand nor care too much about the problems of the rich and powerful in wall street.
If you are one who is keen about the in-depth financial details of an economy, this would be a good movie for you. If not, this movie will do nothing to entertain or inform you. Clearly, this movie was made for a particular niche. Not a movie for everyone.