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Margin Call [DVD]
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on 11 July 2017
Margin Call is probably the best fictional treatment of the latest economic crisis and is, to my mind, in the same league as the wonderfully acutely intelligent documentary Inside Job. The action takes place over a couple of days in the Manhattan headquarters of an unnamed highly respected investment bank and the film opens with the bank's latest round of brutal lay offs. One of the victims is a senior risk analyst who manages to pass on a file to a relatively new employee and the contents of the file are explosive and the bank is on the brink of the biggest bank collapse of all time.

The cast is outstanding and includes Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Zachery Quinto and Jeremy Irons in top form as CEO John Tuld. It is Tuld's responsibility to make the margin call which means it is up to him to order the bank to start dumping worthless stock before news spreads of the imminent collapse of the bank an action which hanged their customers out to dry! It is now known that some banks had gone so far as to create hedge funds intended to fail which enabled them to bet against the funds and make money.

It is clearly portrayed just how immoral corporations really are; their goal is to succeed and make ever more gargantuan profits, pay their employees obscene salaries without any thought to the human cost involved. The rich protect themselves and get ever richer and there is absolutely no sense of responsibility towards customers or the public interest.

Highly recommended.
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on 28 October 2016
Tight and gripping film that moves along in a quick pace. We all know the story of what happened but probably not why with a full understanding. I admit to not being any nearer to understanding the cause (but definitely the effect) after watching this film but still enjoyed it. The assembled cast is brilliant and all give good performances. The closing credits was a stroke of genius - no music, just the sound of Kevin Spacey digging the grave for his dead pet dog - says it all.
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on 11 July 2016
Since I receeived it 2 weeks ago, I have played this dvd 8 or 9 times. The dialogue is crisp and direct, the plot spare and rivetting and the subject matter vividly contemporary: a political parable for our times. Jeremy Irons creates a character of power and forbidding aspect manipulating his servants with skill and mesmeric intent. Led by Paul Bettany and Kevin Spacey the chorus of fascinated and fearful slaves obey and we know why, and we are appalled. The nearest comparison is with those biblical epics - like 'The Robe' - without togas, as played out in the offices of a large bank with the money watching from the vaults and playing the part of God: his only credible function these days. I have not watched a better film in decades.
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on 26 September 2016
It's all obvious - large deals, no-one really understands them, overpaid executives, insensitive HR policies. I work in this world and yes it's all true up to a point. Most employees are decent hardworking people trying to look after their clients at work and their family at home. Yes they get paid more than schoolteachers and nurses but they are less secure and work under pressure most people would be unable to comprehend. The high flyers on 7 or 8 figure salaries are rare. Some of the highest achievers are so boring, if you had dinner with them, you'd be inwardly screaming before finishing the starter. But for Kevin Spacey - alone in turning in a good performance - I'd have given it one star.
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on 9 December 2016
I was extremely impressed with Margin Call. It is a very well acted and directed film about the 2008 financial crash. The film focuses on a Wall Street investment bank, and opens with the HR department laying off numerous traders who are then promptly escorted off the building. One experienced trader whilst being escorted into the lift hands a junior analyst a memory stick with the warning to be careful of its contents. The junior trader waits until everyone has left the office before proceeding to analyse its contents. He soon discovers that the information reveals the perilous financial status of the bank's books. This dire warning is passed up through the ranks of the company eventually reaching the CEO, who calls for an emergency night-time boardroom meeting. The meeting is a brilliantly acted and extremely tense moment of the film, when a drastic decision is made to cut losses by whatever means. The realisation is that it will also have financial consequences worldwide. This film has a very human aspect to it, with great acting by Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons in particular.
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on 29 October 2016
Good drama,good cast ,good script,felt original. Paul betteny and Jeremy irons performed well. The film has a night feel and mostly quiet with the story and characters doing the work. This looked like a bunch of skilled humans made this and did a good job about a boring subject with an interesting story. The only financial drama worth watching.
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on 28 March 2017
Fabulous, insightful film about the start of the financial crash of 2007-8. All performances excellent; Jeremy Irons truly the iron fist in the velvet glove. Great script.
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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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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 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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