Margin Call Reviews
Margin Call portrays the '08 financial crises as what it truly was - corporate figures part of a pecking order that push systematic greed to its nadir. There are no buffoonish, indulgent frat boy sharks in suite ala Scorcese's wrongheaded Wolf of Wall Street. These are real people, making ill-fated decisions that wreak havoc on the world's banking system.
The acting is solid throughout the lineup. Irons plays his role as the firm's dictator with menace and verve. Kevin Spacey manages to be a sympathetic figure despite robbing other firms blind. The perenially-underused Paul Bettany really shines as Spacey's loyal lieutenant.
I've been a fan of JC Chandor's light touch. There's very little flash in his work but his movies always deliver serious gut punches. Suffice it to say, I'm eager to see future additions to his already formidable body of work.
I also understand the sentiment of the movie. Sure, the economic collapse of 2008 was important, but Wall Street was not the cause but the effect. It was the govt. created Fannie May and Freddie Mac and HUD (poor lending policies) along with the govt's enabling of banks that allowed the whole mess in the first place. The great enabler. And even though we don't get much of an explanation for the crash (other than Quinto's diatribe on poor leveraging and risk management), it's difficult for most to understand, unless one is up on investing terminology. And if you are, you probably don't need this movie for understanding. And even Iron's explanation of cause--that's just how we've always been--is rather generic and not very telling.
Overall, a decent film but no outstanding performances (material doesn't warrant it, unless you enjoy excessive dropping of the F bomb) nor insights into human nature or cause of monetary corruption. If you want to know what happened in 2008, and has happened time and again over the centuries (yes, nothing new), go listen to Niall Ferguson or Ray Dalio. Hollywood is no place to get educated