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4.1 out of 5 stars186
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 11 May 2014
It was all gong so well until it abruptly ended out of nowhere, ruined the whole film for me it's a shame really as I was enjoying it up until then. It was like everyone on set had had enough for the day and they decided to finish up filming there and go home
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on 27 March 2014
This began off as being a great film. I bought it as I enjoy Kevin Spacey, but found it had a strange ending. I would say that it is an O.K. film
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on 27 August 2013
I saw a Kevin Spacey interview where he claims the practices in "Margin Call" are still going on today. This review contains some early plot synopsis for those who may have some trouble with the Wall Street jargon. The film appears to be about a fictional investment firm at the start of the 2008 financial crisis.

The drama opens with an investment bank downsizing. An outside agency has been hired to do the layoffs. We see sad scenes of people being tapped and escorted out. This company laid off much of its middle level management layers and kept the worker bees. Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), a big boss is visibly upset. He has a bottle of Pepto-Bismo on his desk. His Chocolate Lab is dying. Spacey is spending $1,000 a day to keep his dog alive. While he appears to be reviving his role in "Horrible Bosses" we later find out he is our closest thing to a good guy.

One of the laid off mid-level bosses, Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) hands off a thumb drive to Seth Bregman (Zachary Quinto) who burns the midnight oil going over the data. Bregman panics at the numbers. The volatility index (VI) indicates the company will incur losses that will greatly exceed its total assets. The firm goes into panic mode. The company holds bad assets known as derivatives which is nothing more than pieces of various risk mortgages lumped together. If they attempt to dump them all, without buying, people will suspect something is up and won't buy their assets. If they wait too long to dump them, the fear is someone else will figure out what is going on and beat them to the punch. They are between the proverbial "rock and a hard place."

This sets the wheels in motion as the CEO is notified that the company may collaspe.

Penn Badgley views their job as legalized gambling. They make $250,000 a year crunching numbers and think their bosses who make $2.5 million a year are obscenely overpaid. Jeremy Irons plays the stereotypical CEO who doesn't seem knowledgeable about their product.

Now in spite of the fact this is dealing with issues beyond most people's lives, everyone one of us knows the results of an economy crash. The actors did a superb job holding our interest in the film as each person handles the stress differently.

What will the investment firm do to survive? As things get ugly, the drama becomes more interesting.

F-bomb, no sex or nudity. Rare film that has strippers and Demi Moore in which she is not one of them.
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on 8 May 2013
Not quite a thriller, but Margin Call is still a solid movie able to hold my attention for its duration.
Being someone who studied economics and was interested in the Credit Crunch and the reasons behind it, this film was entertaining to me, but I can imagine for someone else it might seem that not enough actually happens. Set over 24 hours within an anonymous bank just before the huge global market downshift in 2008 the story explains the decisions made by different people within the bank reacting to the huge threat they uncover. The cast is solid and Jeremy Irons in particular distills the essence of capitalism and the single minded greed in dealing with the market and what we now know caused much of the real world problems. Paul Bettany's character is nicely greedy and ambivalent about the outside world and really captures the 'screw you' attitude I can imagine many traders either had or acquired to do their jobs. Margin Call is a clever look back into the hours before these dramatic changes took place.
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on 4 October 2015
I was amazed reading the bad reviews but then I guess it takes all sorts and everyone is entitled to their opinion. If you're looking for explosions, car chases and lots of CGI special effects this really is not the film for you. If you want to see an ensemble cast of good actors doing what they do they do best then it is one to watch. It is a very "talky" film - the sort of thing you would expect Aaron Sorkin to have written. Most of the actors employ a sort of "less is more" approach in their acting style here, but it works well. As a first time film for the director this is quite an achievement and I found it highly enjoyable. In some ways it is Wall Street (which I also like) for the new millennium placed in the context of the financial crash. The film doesn't treat the viewer as an idiot and there is at times a lot financial jargon being thrown around. It's quite frightening how the higher up the company hierarchy we go the less people know about what the company actually does.
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on 2 July 2012
I have worked in business environments that refelected many of the themes in this film - cold amoral decisions, staff treated as inanimate objects, scapegoated colleagues, merit subjugated to expediency; I could go on. This film had me gripped from beginning to end. There is no sex, violence, no chase scenes, overt CG etc. So, to keep your attention demands a good plot, superb acting, and the chill of realism. I can see this would not be everyone's cup of tea but if you have worked in high level business, this film will entertain -if that is the right word!
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A moody, intelligent chamber piece with a stellar cast, the wonderful actors obviously attracted by the script and its searching subtleties. It must be a nightmare for a screenwriter to try to depict succinctly and cinematically the nature & nub of the global financial crisis - in particular how an investment bank has become lethally over-exposed to sub-prime junk. JC Chandor just about pulls it off. Relish the performances of Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Simon Baker, but above all Jeremy Irons: the big dog in the room, he not only own the firm, he owns the film. He doesn't know that much about derivatives and swaps - he doesn't need to. He's a salesman, and a natural leader. The best line in the movie is his, to the young analyst (Zachary Quinto) who has just alerted the firm to the coming apocalypse: talk to me as if I were a child, or a golden retriever. It's a minor masterpiece. Has JCC got another in him?
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on 19 January 2014
Merchant banking ceased to be a profession for honourable gentlemen (my word is my bond) 40 years ago and this film, like the Wall Street genre, drives the message home. Superb acting from Jeremy Irons. Good entertainment but also a sobering insight into the parallel universe of merchant banking.
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on 23 August 2015
An excellent drama that depicts the real and merciless world of corporation and profit through an engaging story, a great cast, and a script where all the charcters have their own good reason to act like they do, or at least thry just do not seem just cliché. From the same director of All is Lost.
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2014
Any film that makes you despise the characters is represents even more than you thought possible is powerful stuff. Based on events similar to those that caused the collapse of Lehman Brothers, I appreciate there is a degree of dramatic license and characters and situations will be exaggerated. All the same, it does help you appreciate just how vile the people who work in this industry can be. With only a few exceptions, characters are shown to be completely amoral and consumed by greed. The acting and direction is exceptional throughout, particularly Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey. The scene in which Irons explains why the finance industry acts as it does and why their actions and behaviour will always be tolerated by society is particularly powerful. A strong and important film. What is sad is the certainty that what happened in 2008 will happen again...and again...and again.
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