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Margin+Call

by

Jeff Nelson

Margin Call is worth checking out for the combination of a well-crafted screenplay and great performances.

Margin Call
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With the financial meltdowns that have occurred, how do they truly affect us in the long run? Will our children's children still be hurt by it? An interesting concept is whether or not the happenings of 2008 will still be recognized by people in many years. A lot of the movies that involve the financial hardships that have been occurring are documentaries. Margin Call is one of the first dramas to really take up this topic and introduce it to us from the perspective of an investment firm. Americans all across the United States are very aware of what the poor economy has provided for society. They are negative effects on the nation that Margin Call addresses right before the collapse. Before viewing this film, I wasn't sure how a drama about an investment firm could pan out. My thoughts were that it could be pretty good or an absolute disaster.

The key players at an investment firm become entangled during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. When entry-level analyst Peter Sullivan unlocks information that could prove to be the downfall of the firm, a roller-coaster ride ensues as decisions both financial and moral catapult the lives of all involved to the brink of disaster. The film begins with many employees being laid off and quickly turns into one of the remaining persons to have a job receiving a thumb drive with crucial information on it. He pieces it together and discovers that the crisis has already begun yet nobody knew about it yet. There are quite a few different characters with a variety of sub-plots. Some of them involve the firm while others are a bit more personal. By the end of the movie, I found myself genuinely admiring some of the characters while being a tad irritated with others. The dialogue is perfect. There's absolutely nothing I would change about it. Writer J.C. Chandor has a screenplay that features a lot of technical talk. A lot of audiences are sure to be jumbled through all of that jargon, however it's engrossing. I never once found myself bored or pushed away from the movie. This is one of those few movies that's able to have nothing but dialogue sequences within a room, yet be intense. Margin Call deserves more recognition than it has received, although it has rightfully received an Oscar nomination for Best Writing, Original Screenplay. Chandor is an extremely talented man that has crafted something special. However, I do have a couple complaints. The drama involving characters such as Seth Bregman gets very annoying very quickly. The personal problems of these characters takes away from the bigger picture. I also don't see the ending doing very well with mainstream audiences. If you're a fan of sudden endings, then you shouldn't mind.

J.C. Chandor may not be known for many movies, but the cast is far from that. Margin Call stars Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Simon Baker, Penn Badgley, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, and more. This is an extremely impressive cast. Before seeing this, I was worried if Kevin Spacey would become his character in Horrible Bosses. Thankfully this never happened. Spacey is definitely convincing in his role and is sure to gain sympathy from audiences. There are no bad performances to be seen here. It's difficult to pick one actor who stands out from the rest since every actor is absolutely brilliant in this movie. If there wasn't so much competition this year, I wouldn't be surprised to see a few of these actors nominated for an Academy Award. Since this is such an awesome cast, I'm surprised that Margin Call hasn't attracted the attention of many moviegoers.

When checking out movies with well-known casts, this boasts one of the better group of big actors to star on screen together. They are very believable in the roles and have unbelievable chemistry in playing off one another. The script has a lot of meaning behind it. It's interesting to see the movie's perspective from a firm and seeing all of the reactions even from the workers. This is sure to keep intelligent viewers engrossed and amused for the entire running time. The pacing is very smooth and it never becomes dull. However, my biggest complaint is that the personal issues of the characters does pull away from the plot and does nothing but hurt the overall film. Some of the oomph presented earlier in the film is missing from the ending. Regardless, Margin Call is worth checking out for the combination of a well-crafted screenplay and great performances.

My Rating = Four Stars

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