Quietly gripping morality tale - a near perfect movie (by mgorman-6)
Saw this last night. Set at a Wall Street firm on the night in 2008 when the leaders realize that changes in the market will wipe them out if they don't immediately stop selling the products that have been making them all rich, the movie centers on the moral dilemma - recognized by some characters but dismissed by others - that they face in unwinding their positions, saving themselves but shifting the pain to others.The movie finds a way to hold the mirror up to our civilization, showing how we are all complicit in a collective 'dream' one character says at one point, in response <more>
to another who says he feels like he is in a 'dream', 'Funny, it seems like I just woke up' . The dream is the illusion of easy, risk-managed wealth that the financial markets manufacture, again and again, since the emergence of capital markets 200 years ago, until the illusion morphs overnight into a panic. Reality intervenes, fear takes over, and the 'survivor' is the guy who first reaches the lifeboat. So there are no villains in this movie, just people, richly drawn, beautifully acted characters realized by some of our best actors who relish the opportunity to show what they can do given a killer script and enough screen time between lines to actually be the people they are portraying. Central to the movie's success: 1 It gets across the essence of what is going on in the financial markets without bogging us down or dumbing it down2 finding a moral question that can be resolved in a night, yet which is nevertheless a perfect allegory for the whole set of moral questions raised by an economy that works the way ours does, rewarding false confidence, recklessness, and deceit as often as industry, skill, and integrity3 the placement of young, innocent but perceptive characters at the center of the drama, who function as our eyes and ears, who are like stand-ins for all of us who weren't there, at the heart of the dream machine, when the latest fantasy of easy wealth was exposed as a collective delusion4 really 'gets' the trader ethos and manner - they are a kind of warrior caste, foul-mouthed, impulsive, deeply selfish, surviving by their ability to outplay their counterparts, and yet living by a warrior code that sets boundaries on what they will and will not do to one another having spent three years on Wall Street several panics ago, it rang as true as any movie I have seen on the subject It's like Mamet, except you don't have to work as hard to figure out what everyone's up to. It's like Chinatown, except the 'crime' is something far worse than molesting a single young girl. These guys f****d the entire planet, for Ch*****sake. It's like the best movie I've seen in a little while.What an incredibly sure hand from a director on his maiden voyage! Who is this guy? Whoever you are, please don't stop. I would pay a lot to see what he could do with topics like 'the decision to go to war', or 'the emergence of China/India/Brazil/Indonesia from poverty to global player'. Hell I would go see him revive Mother Goose, after this debut.I'll calm down now. Enjoy.
And the Oscars don't go to... Margin Call (by Artemis-9)
I'll concede this picture is not better than The Artist Best Picture Oscar 2012 , but it's damn much closer than the competing nominees.Kevin Spacey in Margin Call 2011 goes through a number of inner changes with flying colours, and less make-up and wardrobe aids than Jean Dujardin Actor in a leading role Oscar 2012 .Demi Moore in Margin Call shows a bit of leg and a big talent, both saying her lines and when she has no lines to say - which in my book is at least nomination material comparable if not better than, the cloning of an iron lady with due respect to Maryl Streep <more>
Actress in a leading role Oscar 2012 .Paul Bettany is surprisingly good as a top villain, and that should have been awarded instead of keeping rewarding established names like Christopher Plummer Actor in a supporting role Oscar 2012 .I'll not contend that Mary McDonnell's work in Margin Call, reduced to a marginal role of 3 minutes at best, was better than the much helpful support by Octavia Spencer in The Help Actress in a supporting role Oscar 2012 . And yet you won't forget her role, soon.New York by night was never so well photographed than by Frank G. DeMarco, but he lost it to a common x-effects based work as Emmanuel Lubezki's The Tree of Life got it Cinematography Oscar 2012 .John Paino and Robert Covelman created dull office spaces that we endure for over 100 minutes without feeling bored 24 hours in an office building, that's something! , allowing for fluidity of movement of actors and cameras alike. They create realism that is more difficult than the fantastic scenarios of Hugo by Dante Ferretti and Francesca LoSchiavo Art Direction Oscars 2012 for Production Design and Set Decorator .Carolin Duncan may have done a discreet job, but each actor and actress is dressed up - or down - according to the moment with precision and respect for him/her status in the organization - deserving as much as Mark Bridges with his glamorous The Artist Costume Design Oscar 2012 .What did J.C. Chandor lack to deserve an award in comparison to the rather trivial excuse me! Michel Hazanavicius? Directing Oscar 2012 .Pete Beaudreau did a wonderful job, so as you won't notice is presence in Margin Call - what would have been a good reason to award him instead of maybe Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall Film Editing Oscar 2012 .I'd have elected Erin Ayanian and Fabiola Arancibia for their work on Demi Moore, rather the overdone makeup of Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland on their Iron Lady Makeup Oscar 2012 .Nathan Larson discreet, varied, mood creation, imaginative music certainly beats the expected score by Ludovic Bourse Original Score Oscar 2012 , and probably all other nominees, hands down.Most of all, J.C. Chandor was robbed of award and nomination for his original screenplay that is what the people should be exposed to, to understand the reality of the last three years with a perspective that goes through 7 centuries, with a dialogue that all actors delivery naturally, because they were very careful written by someone who knew what he was writing about! Several dialogues of this screenplay should be mandatory study in Acting and Finance Schools. So, with due respect to the old hand of Woody Allen Original Screenplay Oscar 2012 I'll contend that the nominee Chandor should have got the trophy.Summing up: 1. I do not understand how come Margin Call did not get a single statuette. 2. I am confirmed in my conceited opinion that good movies are rarely rewarded by the Oscar crowd.PS - This film is rated R, probably because of the repeated use of the F**k word, despite the characters saying the expletive or the verb are subjected to unbearable psychological and economic pressure. I appeal to all minors of 21 or 18 or whatever, to sneak in and watch this movie. You will know what your favourite TV station and your favourite political leader has not told you these last three years.
I work in the finance industry and was told by my boss to watch this. Up until now I have always had trouble naming a favourite movie, but not anymore. This movie depicts the environment and the people so perfectly and added food for thought as well if you are willing to think about it deeply. For example, the analyst could have been a rocket scientist and built something useful. Eric Dale did build a really useful bridge. Sam Rogers summed it up beautifully when in his final conversation with the CEO replied that if he was digging trenches that he would at least have the holes in the ground <more>
to show for his effort. Instead of doing useful things, these people are here simply because the pay is good. Unlike most other professions where you enter to do some good for society medical so you can heal people, teaching so you can guide the future generation, manufacturing so you can make things that people use, entertainment so you amuse people etc , investment banking attracts people that want to make money for themselves. Greed and self-interest are naturally demonstrated in abundance, and moral has little place in this environment. The higher up the chain you go, a bit more of your soul is sold.
While I am a big fan of Oliver Stone and I did enjoy his second Wall Street movie, I have to admit, that this one is superior in every way. Great acting talent at hand, great unfortunately real story, which might be a bit heightened for obvious reasons, but still very scary if you think about the whole thing.As stated above the actors make a big difference. They have to convey decisions and stand by things that you shouldn't normally do. But then again it's not as if this didn't happen one way or the other . The movie also seems to have affected people since its original slated <more>
release date got pushed forward. Festival releases where I saw it too and the general good response made that an easy decision. Watching this should be one too ...
Fantastic film, but not for everyone. (by J. Ryan)
It's difficult to review Margin Call. Those of us who were close to the events of 2008 will find something personal in the story-telling. Others may see it as more examples of greed and hubris. In any case, the following observations apply to both groups.The performances are top notch. Everyone from Zachary Quinto to Demi Moore brings their A-game. Even supporting characters are oddly fleshed out for a film with such an ensemble cast. Kevin Spacey and Paul Bettany give the performances of their careers, I think. Only the Jeremy Irons character John Tuld, aka Dick Fuld feels a bit over <more>
the top, while the rest are truly believable well-rounded depictions.Despite having good characters and amazing cinematography, the film lacks plot. The backdrop and setting are tense, but this doesn't feel like a "movie" in the traditional sense. There's no evolution of characters, no arcs, and the ending may leave some wanting. You can compare it to Michael Mann films where plot and pace are unconventional.Not sure how the film will perform commercially, given the material is esoteric. If you're a film buff and enjoy great performances or you've been in finance, this is a must-see. Other may likely pass.
Great insight into the fall of Wall Street (by elaineandjim)
This film was a great follow up to Inside Job, which described the big picture and background of the 2008 fall of the investment industry. Margin Call zooms in on the workings and the actual down and dirty business of one of the main but unnamed brokerage houses. This film captured our attention and interest, while heightening our "concerns" over the reality portrayed. The agony and defeat of the hard working, loyal employees was displayed in their faces and body language, lending to our empathy for the staff being "used", while abhorring the situation. The twenty four <more>
hour workplace dilemma is told and carried out realistically, with time flying for the totally engaged viewer.
Saw this at New Directors festival in NYC and really enjoyed and was engrossed in this film. A great cast with splendid performances. The film is very intense and although it is about a company involved in the financial meltdown of 2008, it really is about much more. I particularly liked the way the film depicts the frightening absolute and ruthless power of the corporation over the lives of people that work there as well as the implications and ripples for everyone else.How those people get sucked in to the embrace, security and pleasures of what the corporations have to offer and the <more>
consequences and vulnerabilities of those choices.The freedom and comforts that we cherish here in twenty first century USA are not as secure as we might think. Don't want to say much more, other than that "Margin Call" is very involving and in the end affecting and thought provoking.It packs a powerful punch.
First-Time Filmmaker Deftly Handles the Financial Meltdown on Human-Size Terms (by EUyeshima)
Having been the victim of corporate downsizing more than once, I was immediately engaged with this propulsive 2011 corporate drama from the beginning as Stanley Tucci's character, a seasoned risk management executive named Eric Dale, is told in a coldly indifferent manner that he is being laid off after 19 years with the same unnamed Wall Street firm. It's a piercing yet dramatically economical scene that perfectly summarizes how bloodless the corporate world can be, and in first-time writer/director J.C. Chandor's effort set on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis , it is very <more>
cold indeed with 80% of the trading floor being let go. As Dale is escorted out of the building, he hands a flash drive to his prodigious assistant Peter Sullivan and tells him to take a look at it and "Be careful."Once Sullivan analyzes the data, he realizes the universal gravity of Dale's warning - that the firm is so over-committed to underwater mortgage-backed securities that the total potential loss exceeds the firm's total market capitalization value. In other words, the projected scenario means the firm will soon owe a lot more than it's worth, and the market will be on the verge of an apocalyptic meltdown. What happens after this discovery is a series of sharply intense clandestine confrontations with each level of higher-ups recognizing the ramifications of the inevitable disaster, each one far more nuanced in character than we are used to seeing in films from Oliver Stone about greed and immorality. Blessedly, Chandor doesn't stoop to the customary stereotypes in this corporate cage match, but what he does manage is capture the moral compass underneath each player by way of a cast that really delivers the goods with powerfully implosive performances.Zachary Quinto "Star Trek" is initially at the center of the plot as Sullivan and performs well enough in the constraining, semi-heroic role, but the veterans really stand out here beginning with Kevin Spacey, who effectively plays against type as Sam Rogers, a genuine company man, the seen-it-all head of the trading team who rallies what's left of the trading floor with corporate brio but then faces his own cross to bear struggling to commandeer a fire sale of worthless assets dumped on unsuspecting clients. The other standout is Jeremy Irons, who masterfully resuscitates the cool cunning of his Claus von Bulow from "Reversal of Fortune" as the acerbically survivalist CEO John Tuld. He handily controls the boardroom scene with cutting humor and hostile precision. One of the film's more pleasant surprises is Demi Moore in cool, brisk form as Sarah Robertson, the top risk officer and lone female executive who knows her career is at stake with the discovery of this folly. Tucci is excellent in his smallish role as Dale and gets to show off his resigned character's engineering aptitude with a brief monologue about building a bridge.Comparatively less impressive but playing their more predictable roles fitfully are Penn Badgley as Sullivan's younger, overtly money-obsessed colleague Seth Bregman; Paul Bettany as Dale's nihilistic, snake-oil salesman of a boss, Will Emerson; and Simon Baker as the most morally despicable executive of the bunch, Jared Cohen. Mary McDonnell has a brief and frankly unnecessary scene as Rogers' ex-wife, and I didn't even recognize the usually hilarious Broadway personality Susan Blackwell as the hatchet woman in the opening scene. There are a few flaws with Chandor's observant screenplay, for example, the overly analogous scenes of Rogers dealing with his dying dog and a rooftop scene that plays up Emerson's nihilistic nature too predictably. In addition, some scenes play either too murkily or too clinically to achieve the precise dramatic effect they should. I think the absence of a musical score also contributes to the sterility of the proceedings. However, as a first-time filmmaker, Chandor more than impresses with his deft handling of such a zeitgeist moment with the Occupy Wall Street protests gaining understandable momentum right now.
"Margin Call" is Well Acted with a Tense Tone (by ptg723)
If you want to witness an acting clinic put on by an incredibly talented ensemble cast, look no further than J.C. Chandor's take on the beginnings of the 2008 financial crisis. The film follows an unnamed firm, which awakens to the reality of the economic catastrophe that was to come. The tense emotion of the situation was held steady by the ensemble throughout the film. Bettany, Quinto, and Badgley, all turned in superb performances, but it was Tucci, Spacey, and Irons that stood out as excellent. It was witnessing the brink of a tragedy that draws parallels to the 2006 film, <more>
"Flight 93" minus the deep heartbreak "93" leaves us with . For "Margin Call", the storyline and setting may be repetitive but not enough to let you sit back and zone out.