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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Margin Call Film Review - Moore Spacey Irons

"Margin Call" epitomizes the financial collapse of 2008. A venerable investment firm, built on thin-as-ice investments, is now worthless. The company decides to deceive their customers and sell these worthless investments before anyone realizes they are junk. In the process, the institution destroys itself, possibly its customers and a handful of players make a lot of money.

I've heard this is based on the Lehman Brothers failure but I do not know if that is true.

Margin Call is packed with talented actors. Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, Paul Bethany, you name it, they just kept pouring out of the woodwork as I watched this film. Even Mary McDonnell ( from the Kevin Costner film "Dances With Wolves") appears for 3 minute bit part in the film.

The acting, of course, was excellent. The big names and recognizable faces no doubt drew people into the theaters. From an acting/directing perspective I only found one scene disappointing (an overly contrived scene where human resources is firing Stanley Tucci's character, Eric Dale).

I did wonder if they really needed so many all-stars for this type of film. It seemed a bit overkill but I don't care. I don't pay the salaries, I just want a decent film.

The film is easy to understand. While there are a lot of complex terms thrown around I felt I was part of the conversation instead of struggling to keep up. Good credit to the writing. Introduce a few fifty cent words diluted with logical explanation that fits seamlessly into the dialog.

I credit the film in the way it doesn't try to be too sinister or heroic. It lets the collapse unfold, my guess is, much like so many other financial institutions in 2008, 2009. No melodramatic conflict. No thrilling suspense. The Lone Ranger isn't saving the day here. While there are plenty of guilt felt and moral questions raised by the characters, in the end the only true pain is the pain suffered by the institutions and individuals they duped.

I enjoyed the film. You might too. Check it out.

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