MARGIN CALL (2011)

TMG Scale 5.0     P Factor 0.0     MPAA Rating: R
Starring Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Simon Baker

Joy Lynn: Margin Call tracks a twenty-four hour period that seems like it lasts a lifetime!  This is a slow paced movie that borders on boring, certainly not a thriller in my mind.  There was never a moment my heart began to pound.

Don’t get me wrong, the acting in this film was great. Kevin Spacey is superb and the real life drama depicted in this movie is very real.  It is just too real to be an entertaining and thrilling movie.  Imagine watching a group of wealthy investment bankers contemplate and discuss their fears and concerns in a boardroom for twelve hours, while the other twelve hours they roam the city during the night contemplating and discussing their fears and concerns. There are no shouting matches, no drama and no corruption is exposed.  The story bogs down rehashing the obvious.

Margin Call takes place in a fictional investment bank at the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008.  The bank sees the writing on the wall and its CEO,  John Tuld (Irons) makes the decision to sell off all their securities to save their balance sheet. Sam Rogers (Spacey) is faced with a moral decision as he supervises the sell-off of assets he knows are worthless.  Sound familiar?  No particular firm is named but this film seems to mimic the demise of Lehman Brothers.  Public interest is disregarded and the CEO collects an enormous salary for leading his company in to bankruptcy.  This is all corporate greed at it’s very finest.

There is one interesting distraction. In order to keep the audience from being totally angry, the writer begins the movie with Spacey emotionally upset about his dying dog. From that point, you watch the story unfold with executives living in luxury with no regard for anyone else but themselves.  The writer plays on your emotions, giving you pause from feeling angry and disgusted.

Rogers, who wonders if he should have been a ditch digger, displays that sentiment at the end of the movie in a very odd sort of disturbing way. I walked away from this film having not been entertained, but only reminded all too well of how my life changed in 2008 for the worse.

The 2010 film, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is much more fun to watch. Exercise your own margin call. Rent Wall Street tonight instead.

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