Upon viewing “Margin Call” you’ll realize two things. One, the financial crisis that began in 2008 is just as scary for major corporations as it is for the “little people.” And two, Zachary Quinto is going to be a major movie star.
The film captures a frantic 24-hour period in which a trillion dollar Wallstreet investment firm learns that their pattern of productivity is about to burst. The riveting drama turns the trading room floor into a platform of contention and destruction.
Eric (played by the always magnificent Stanley Tucci) is laid off after 19 years of service and escorted from the building like a criminal. But before he leaves, he informs his employee of some alarming news … everything they know has come to an end.
From the initial scene, the predatory nature of the corporate world is boldly captured, and we are introduced to each boss Russian nesting doll style, from the inside out. There’s the boss, then an even bigger boss, and an even bigger boss, until finally we meet Jeremy Irons’ character who reveals the three ways to make a living at the top: “Be First, be smarter, or cheat.”
Yet, gradually it becomes clear to the company that something horrific is about to happen. Something the audience recognizes as the beginning of global economic ruin. Watching the film may be likened to viewing early portions of a 9/11 movie. You watch knowing that something terrible is about to happen but the images on-screen reflect a nativity you wish so badly to revisit.
Director JC Chandor was offered a generous distribution deal by a major production company on the condition that he make the ending of the film more commercial, however he refused and the company passed on the project, forcing Chandler to settle on a low budget film, though with a genuine ending.
The film also manages to conquer a murky topic with an element of humility. Much of this is owed to Kevin Spacey. You’ll find no trace of the sociopathic/murderer boss he played in “Horrible Bosses” as he takes on an honorable and sympathetic role in this film. The dynamic between him and Quinto is quite compelling. Actually, the dynamic between Quinto and anyone is compelling. His performance is understatedly brilliant.
The rest of the noteworthy cast includes Penn Badgely, Simon Backer, Demi Moore and Paul Bettany, who launches into some seriously unforgettable monologues. Warning: scenes with up to three or more of these stars may result in more charisma than one could handle.
“Margin Call” is in theaters now!
Check out the trailer below:
Contributing Editor for Gossip On This