Margin Call (15)

Film

Thrillers

El precio de la codicia

El precio de la codicia © Walter Thomson, Walter Thomson

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jan 10 2012

Margin call indeed. American debut feature director JC Chandor’s take on the 2008 economic meltdown is an ambiguous beast, melding bullpen drama, forensic procedural and moral hazard in its account of a Wall Street investment bank’s long, dark night of the soul at the start of the crisis. Chandor proffers a cross-section of a Lehman Brothers-esque company as the realisation dawns that sub-prime speculation has brought the market to an ominous tipping point. From Zachary Quinto’s low-level whizz kid, who raises the alarm, we go up via middle-rankers Paul Bettany, Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci to dark lord Jeremy Irons, with whom the buck might literally stop.

The performances are as meaty as you’d hope, and the script offers plenty of pseudo-Mamet jostling and the kind of procedural niceties that make, say, James B Stewart’s business articles for the New Yorker so compellingly accessible. Missing, however, are the outsider eye and moral perspective of, for example, John Lanchester’s writing about the crisis. ‘Margin Call’ presents Wall Street on its own terms even in meltdown – not uncritically but claustrophobically, like a Mob movie indifferent to victims of crime. It’s unclear whether the picture realises how bitter a taste this leaves.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jan 13, 2012

Duration:

107 mins

Cast and crew

Cast:

Kevin Spacey, Will Emerson, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons

Director:

JC Chandor

Screenwriter:

Zachary Quinto

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

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  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|12
1 person listening
Nino H

the relationships between the characters at different levels of the hierarchy are fascinating and together with the cold-bloodedness there is a surprising amount of warmth in their interactions (spacey towards underlings and unnamed staff, irons towards spacey...). spacey lets it be known that he is conscious of the huge personal cost of the company's actions, if not to to the general public, then at least to other traders in and outside the firm. despite being cold and ruthlessly decisive in his decisions, irons is warm in his dealings with employees (i could listen to that majestic leonine voice all day) and far from a simple character. in showing a second or even third side to the trader, this film easily surpasses Wall Street or Wolf of Wall Street. Definitely worth watching

daveb

It seemed rather implausible that some geek could turn over a stone and discover the end of the financial world was nigh and even more improbable that he could then convince a whole lot of others to sell the farm over night - but maybe that is what happened. I wasn't convinced by this film. Poorly developed characters and a script that jumped forward without developing enough of a story to bring you along. Worth watching in the second week of a rainy holiday on DVD if you are too tired to read a book and there is nothing on the telly.

Lee

Saw the film on Sunday with two friends, and i thought it was an exceptionally well acted and written film. It didn’t try to seem to either lionize or condemn it’s subjects, and merely portrayed them as well....’human’ The film did a great job of condensing the genesis of the financial crisis, in a way that was detailed enough to not alienate the audience, and yet simplify it enough to hold an film audience’s attention. Much has been said of the performances of “Kevin Spacey� character (his upper manager character, with a misplaced moral code) / Paul Bettany (pragmatic middle manager, who’s understands that people financial greed, allows this practice to continue), Jeremy Irons (Cold-as-ice, razor-sharp CEO, who is prepared to save the company, at any financial/human cost). But not enough has been mentioned, but the supporting Cast (Demi Moore/Simon Baker/Zachary Quinto/Penn Badgley)..simply cannot be ignored, and their performances truly elevated the film. Two of the most exceptional things I found with the film was (1) Although, there was great financial cost at stake...each character was given a scene to show what the personal cost of this crisis would implicate on their lives (especially Demi Moores/Kevin Spacey’s/Penn Badgley’s characters). (2) although not necessarily ‘likable’ characters...I kept finding myself...rotating through who my favourite character was (one minute It was Stanley Tucci’s character...then Kevin Spacey’s...then Simon Baker’s...and so on). In the end It was probably Paul Bettany’s philosophical/yet hard-edged manager, complete aware of what was going to happen, and powerless to intervene...yet emerged with some dignity, that just took it for me. The film might not be everyone’s idea of a ‘good night out at the movie’...but to be fair anyone reading this review, must have a fair interest/idea what the film is about....and I strongly urge you to see it.

Lee

Saw the film on Sunday with two friends, and i thought it was an exceptionally well acted and written film. It didn’t try to seem to either lionize or condemn it’s subjects, and merely portrayed them as well....’human’ The film did a great job of condensing the genesis of the financial crisis, in a way that was detailed enough to not alienate the audience, and yet simplify it enough to hold an film audience’s attention. Much has been said of the performances of “Kevin Spacey� character (his upper manager character, with a misplaced moral code) / Paul Bettany (pragmatic middle manager, who’s understands that people financial greed, allows this practice to continue), Jeremy Irons (Cold-as-ice, razor-sharp CEO, who is prepared to save the company, at any financial/human cost). But not enough has been mentioned, but the supporting Cast (Demi Moore/Simon Baker/Zachary Quinto/Penn Badgley)..simply cannot be ignored, and their performances truly elevated the film. Two of the most exceptional things I found with the film was (1) Although, there was great financial cost at stake...each character was given a scene to show what the personal cost of this crisis would implicate on their lives (especially Demi Moores/Kevin Spacey’s/Penn Badgley’s characters). (2) although not necessarily ‘likable’ characters...I kept finding myself...rotating through who my favourite character was (one minute It was Stanley Tucci’s character...then Kevin Spacey’s...then Simon Baker’s...and so on). In the end It was probably Paul Bettany’s philosophical/yet hard-edged manager, complete aware of what was going to happen, and powerless to intervene...yet emerged with some dignity, that just took it for me. The film might not be everyone’s idea of a ‘good night out at the movie’...but to be fair anyone reading this review, must have a fair interest/idea what the film is about....and I strongly urge you to see it.

john o sullivan

After Liars popker read Michael Lewis The big short... which finishes the story of the Morgage bond and how CDS'S nearly destroyed the western world

TRUTHTELLER.

Ian is correct. A very politically slanted movie. One of these days a liberal slanted Hollywood will stop making movies that drive people away.

Blaize67

A lot of positive hype preceded this movie, and with the cast you'd expect something really special. It's all a bit "worthy" and as John says if you want a real insight read Liars Poker, or Freefall by Stiglitz. Here we are presented with a rather sentimental view of our banker chums and how traumatic and angsty it was in those terrible days. One even has a dying dog (boo hoo!). There's no real drama and it all pretty pedestrian. It makes the cardinal mistake of not letting action drive the storyline. After all the exciting bit is were they try to offload the toxic assets...and this is done in a perfunctory voiceover. A nice effort...verdict? Tries hard could do better.

JOHN O SULLIVAN

Im with Ian felt the film wa poorly acted and badly written What investment bank dumped all of their toxic stock in one day Wouldnt it panicked the market? If you want some insight into how this started read Michael Lewis 's Liars Poker written in 1989 a couple of years after Solomon brothers introduced the morgage bond

philsee

"Moral hazard" has a precise meaning in economics, and if moral hazard existed in this story, it had already been used up, as the central bank wasn't coming to the rescue. There was an absence of moralising, instead a more or less accurate depiction of a crisis in a financial institution based on events of 2008. There was a hint of a moral in the suggestion that the bridge builder and the rocket scientist would have been useful if they had kept to their original professions and stayed out of finance. It's something of a cliche that money loses its meaning to people on high salaries, its only function is to confer status. The film suggested that it's true.

Ian

Welcome to the Hollywood Liberal view of the Financial meltdown. Its Lehman Brothers with a very liberal skewed view. For heavens sake the boss man is called Tuld when the CEO of Lehman's was called Fuld. It really is that dumb! It is almost Black and White in its view of good and bad. In the bad corner we have Iron's boss; Moore's heartless token female exec who has to have more balls than all of the men put together. In the good guys we have Tucci who used to make bridges and reels off the number of millions miles and hours saved his bridge made and his two young proteges who realise what is going on. They know what is going on but the money is good and they want what the big bosses have. Bettany's characters depicyion of where the 2.5 million dollars a year he earned went shows just what different worlds these people live in. The good guys stick at it because the money was so good but then doesn't that make them actually worse than the bad guys? If all the characters in the film fell under a bus no one would miss them but I suppose that is the point. Me and seven others on a saturday night showing of this film in the only cinema showing this film in Britain's second city. I doubt it will be there next Saturday. Poor and with so many good actors in it is could and should have been so much better.