Margin Call

2011

Margin Call

Critics Consensus

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

87%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 167

74%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 19,912
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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 feature is a stark and bravely authentic portrayal of the financial industry and its denizens as they confront the decisions that shape our global future. -- (C) Roadside Attractions

Cast

Kevin Spacey
as Sam Rogers
Paul Bettany
as Will Emerson
Jeremy Irons
as John Tuld
Zachary Quinto
as Peter Sullivan
Penn Badgley
as Seth Bregman
Simon Baker
as Jared Cohen
Mary McDonnell
as Mary Rogers
Demi Moore
as Sarah Robertson
Stanley Tucci
as Eric Dale
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Critic Reviews for Margin Call

All Critics (167) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (145) | Rotten (22)

Audience Reviews for Margin Call

  • Oct 03, 2015
    I rate Margin Call up on account of the acting overall and as a Kevin Spacey fan (otherwise it would be a three). The shooting is fine, with some nicely framed shots. The story is OK but was a bit disappointing in terms of tension. Some scenes could have been left out in favor of flashbacks which reveal what the characters were doing in the weeks and months prior to the meltdown: who knew, what they knew, how they contributed, etc. But despite the story not being what it could have been, Margin Call is still an enjoyable film.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2015
    Owing a huge deal to David Mamet and his cunning, no nonsense, hyper realistic dialogue; first time writer-director J. C Chandor weaves an equally engrossing character driven exploration of capitalist excesses. A top notch cast that uses Chandor's words as fists in the struggle to remain in their unnamed company, which resemblances the extinct Lehman Brothers and the causes that led to its downfall. Especial mention to the almost reptilian-like head honcho of the firm, an impeccable and sinister Jeremy Irons.
    Pierluigi P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 27, 2012
    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.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2012
    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.
    Melvin W Super Reviewer

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