¨There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat¨
Margin Call may be a fictional movie, but it has more truths in it than an actual Hollywood film that claims to be based on a true story. Despite not knowing a whole lot of economics I assure you we are all familiar with what happened in 2008 with the bubble burst in Wall Street because it has affected everyone`s life. First time director and screen writer J.C. Chandor does a great job at recreating what probably happened inside one of the investment banks the night before the financial crisis actually took place. I don`t know much about economics, but this movie is pretty easy to follow thanks to the smart script which in a way serves as an Economic for Dummies book. By making the actors explain the situation to their bosses in ¨plain English, ¨ Chandor is actually telling us what is going on in understandable terms. I wouldn`t argue that their bosses would actually understand everything in harsher terms, but the audience needed to be informed so I`m not going to take credit away from Chandor for this because it needed to be done. If not most of us wouldn`t have a clue of what was going on. Margin Call isn`t just a film about the financial crisis, it also deals with some aspects about important business corporations and how sometimes as employers we are forced to do things that go against our moral beliefs. Most corporations run as ¨a dog eat dog world¨ and ¨survival of the fittest¨, and in this film we see plenty of that.
A Bank investment firm is reducing its personnel in the risk management division letting go of almost 70% of its employees including their main analyst, Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci). Dale seems to be working on something very important, and before leaving he gives his pen drive to a co-worker, Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto), so he can finish the work and warns him to be very careful. Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) is the division manager and he gives the remaining employees an inspirational speech about them being the best in their line of work and thus surviving in the company. The group decides to go out and celebrate with their boss Will Emerson (Paul Bettany), but Sam stays to see if he can review what Dale was working on. He manages to solve the equation that Dale never quite finished and the result was dreadful. The company is heading towards bankruptcy and the financial meltdown is about to begin. Sam calls his co-worker, Seth (Penn Badgley), and tells him that he should come back to the office with Will as soon as possible. It`s midnight, but the situation can`t wait any longer. When they arrive and discover what is happening they realize they have to call their bosses so up we go through the corporate ladder, first they call Sam, then Sam calls his boss Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore), and she calls Jared (Simon Baker), until the Owner finally arrives in his personal helicopter, John Tuld (Jeremy Irons). They discuss everything that is going on in a meeting and realize that the financial crisis is about to hit hard and have to sell all their stocks as early as possible.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this movie is that it focuses on the financial meltdown in one confined space. We get to see how the main characters interact with each other inside the company and how everyone has to face a moral dilemma. It`s not just a movie focusing on the financial meltdown, but it`s more of a corporate drama where we have interesting characters who we end up caring about and understanding the moral dilemma they have to go through. There are some real good performances from some of the actors, and the cast is also very interesting. Stanley Tucci is always great in these small roles, Zachary Quinto delivers a strong performance as one of the lead characters, and Paul Bettany along with Kevin Spacey also give powerful performances as the struggle with some moral issues. Everything they have been working for all their lives is about to go down the drain, and the hardest decision is still right in front of them. The script is really engaging and well written. I loved this movie. Inside Job was a great documentary about the financial collapse, but Margin Call gives us a better look inside as to what might have gone on inside these big corporations. Don`t be scared off by the plot dealing with economics, this is a very strong and entertaining drama with good performances.