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Margin Call (2011)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 154
Fresh: 136 | Rotten: 18

Smart, tightly wound, and solidly acted, Margin Call turns the convoluted financial meltdown of '08 into gripping, thought-provoking drama.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 38 | Rotten: 4

Smart, tightly wound, and solidly acted, Margin Call turns the convoluted financial meltdown of '08 into gripping, thought-provoking drama.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 17,879

My Rating

Movie Info

Set in the high-stakes world of the financial industry, Margin Call is an entangling thriller involving the key players at an investment firm during one perilous 24-hour period in the early stages of the 2008 financial crisis. When an entry-level analyst 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. Writer/director J.C. Chandor's enthralling first


Mystery & Suspense

J.C. Chandor

Dec 20, 2011


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October 18, 2013:
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October 21, 2011:
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All Critics (155) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (136) | Rotten (18) | DVD (5)

Chandor proffers a cross-section of a Lehman Brothers-esque company as the realisation dawns that sub-prime speculation has brought the market to an ominous tipping point.

January 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Carefully crafted performances and taut pacing carry the day.

November 29, 2011 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Topical drama about the financial crisis lacks the visceral punch to grab an audience.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Hollywood Reporter | Comments (3)
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A methodical, coolly absorbing boardroom thriller.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spacey is mesmerizing as Sam, a weary, aging lion losing his appetite for antelope. And Irons plays the villain with magisterial ease.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Comments (2)
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a realistic take on what happens when high-flying money speculators suddenly hit ground. It's also a great calling card for J.C. Chandor, the writer/director making his feature debut.

November 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Margin Call is Wall Street for now. That a sexy Gordon Gekko-type villain is no longer anywhere to be found shows just how much worse things really are today.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinemania

A well-told and credible look at the economic collapse from the perspective of one company's employees.

June 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Big Hollywood
Big Hollywood

Gets the little details right, the way everyone is one bad week away from being homeless, the way you can have a conversation with a colleague with the cleaning lady standing in between you and no one will ever even acknowledge that she's there.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin

A Wall Street version of 'Glengarry Glen Ross' in which the weak are whisked aside and the alpha dogs stick around long enough to fill their pockets with millions of other people's money.

May 26, 2013 Full Review Source: The Patriot Ledger
The Patriot Ledger

In Margin Call, first time writer-director JC Chandor creates a humanizing insight into the lives of the bankers who discovered the fall of the economy.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

Maybe the financial collapse went down something like this...

December 31, 2012 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Wily humor and sly observations about the lives of these high rollers are the highlights... It's when those give way to issues of morality that the film disappoints, just a little...

November 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

At times, the film becomes just a series of static, over-determined conversations held in lofty offices and gleaming toilets.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: The Skinny
The Skinny

Margin Call can't beat the street, missing the mark in a major way given the massive expectations.

October 22, 2012 Full Review Source: NECN

Es casi imposible identificarse con alguno de los personajes. Y el director y guionista lo sabe, por eso dota a su ópera prima de una tensión propia de un thriller, y de una mirada cínica y desencantada.

May 20, 2012 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

This is Chandor's triumph, and marks him out as someone to keep an eye on in the future.

May 10, 2012 Full Review Source:

Margin Call's a tightly scripted, intensely acted, skillfully directed, character piece that illuminates the depths of moral and ethical corruption at the epicentre of western capitalist society.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

Intelligently written and brilliantly portrayed, Margin Call delves into the belly of the beast where consequence is given no conscious and the line between good vs evil is blurred amongst a sea of numbers.

March 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Taut Wall Street drama takes an inside look at financial and human meltdown.

March 13, 2012 Full Review Source:

With a script void of shouting matches and preachy monologues, J.C. Chandor makes the brave decision not to demonise these characters.

March 12, 2012 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

[It] gives us villains that, rather than being sympathetic, are well-argued and reasonable. It gives us heroes that, whilst idealistic, make immoral choices for their own betterment. Margin Call is complex, fury-inspiring, and thoughtful.

March 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Quickflix

What makes it engaging is that the Oscar nominated screenplay explores the people who make the decisions from a moral point of view. And finds them wanting.

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

It's a fascinating film that reveals much about its characters and provides food for thought for all of us who live in a capitalist society. Greed may be good for the avaricious but it's sure as hell ugly when it comes at any cost

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Smart, sharp and dark, J C Chandor's ensemble drama - eliciting defined, defiant performances from an A-grade cast - summons the spirit of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross.

March 11, 2012 Full Review Source: The Sun Herald
The Sun Herald

Chandor underplays the human drama and the anonymity of the Wall Street office building so much it risks slipping into doldrums, but the stakes are too great and the actors too sharp to let that happen.

February 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Audience Reviews for Margin Call

A re-telling of the 2008 financial crisis that casts it as Greek tragedy and very nearly respects the three classical unities, covering one main action (the collapse of this firm's solubility), one main physical space (the office, though it does branch out a little, to a car, a bar and a porch), and lasting not more than 24 hours. The ensemble cast is excellent, the mood is dark, the events are totally believable, the stakes are high, and on top of all that, there's a speech that, in my opinion, supplants Gordon Gecko's "Greed is good" in Oliver Stone's Wall Street, which I watched after this and found lacking in comparison. One of the more underrated films of the past few years - hard-hitting, essential viewing.
November 24, 2013

Super Reviewer

"I liked the movie. I thought the cast was excellent as well as most of the acting. I think some characters were not needed (cough, cough, Penn Badgley). I also thought the film was extremely boring at times. I only saw the movie for the cast and wanted to see them all act together. I think they all did a great job. The story is interesting, but it really starts losing steam quite fast. It's not something I would see again."
January 15, 2013

Super Reviewer

Great actors, decent plot, but I would not classify this movie as a "thriller." It was interesting, but I found myself waiting for something thrilling to happen, and it never did. It was, however, very intriguing for the most part. Unfortunately, it seems to all fizzle at the end. Another movie where they weren't sure how to end it?? Hate that....
January 9, 2013

Super Reviewer

Sam Rogers: This is what the beginning of a fire sale looks like. 

"Be First. Be Smarter. Or Cheat."

Margin Call was much more entertaining then I thought possible. The initial plot summary of the film was enough to interest me, but I didn't think I would love it as much as I did. The movie has a tenseness about it, and the actors bring all the tension to the screen through their wonderful performances. 

This is a smart film about the beginning of the financial crisis. When an analyst finds a problem, an investment bank goes to work to see how they can solve this. Well, not really solve it, but only make it better for them. The film covers about a 24 hour period from when the investment bank let's a lot of workers go to the "fire sale" that takes place.

The best part of the movie was definitely the acting. There is an impressive ensemble cast at work here, with big names that include: Paul Bettany, Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci. There's also a good number of familiar faces, but not familiar names. All these actors give pretty good performances and make the most out of the movie. Without a cast that would absolutely bring it, this would have probably been a pretty boring and dry movie. The dryness of the business is left out though because the writing is designed for these actors to do what they do best. 

Margin Call is a film that deserves at least one viewing. It's entertaining, it's smart, and it's well made. It may not sound like a fun viewing experience, but in actuality, it really is. The hour and forty minute runtime flew by and at the end I was left satisfied. So give this one a shot, despite how you may think the movie will end up  leaving you. Take a chance on it, and you won't regret it.
November 23, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

    1. Will Emerson: I'm all out of nicorettes, which means in about ten minutes I'm going to kill somebody.
    – Submitted by Adam D (22 months ago)
    1. Seth Bregman: This could be huge. The losses would be greater than the current value of the company.
    – Submitted by Adam D (22 months ago)
    1. Eric Dale: I was working on something but they didn't let me finish. Here, take a look at it. Be careful.
    – Submitted by Adam D (22 months ago)
    1. John Tuld: Speak to me as you would a 2 year old or a golden retriever.
    – Submitted by Adam D (22 months ago)
    1. Will Emerson: Some people like taking the long way home.
    – Submitted by Adam D (22 months ago)
    1. Sam Rogers: We dont sell anything to anybody unless they are going to come back for more.
    – Submitted by John W (2 years ago)
View all quotes (11)

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