Nov 132011
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

As if we needed another reminder of the devastating effects that occurred during the 2008 financial crisis, (whose effects are still being felt today), it has received yet another big screen vehicle in the form of “Margin Call,” a powerfully personal look into the undoing of an unsuspecting financial firm.

Eric (Stanley Tucci), a risk management advisor for the firm, can only watch helplessly as corporate types descend upon his office and cause a storm of layoffs that leave the majority of the firm, including himself, without a job.

On his way out, he hands a USB drive containing a project he was working on to Peter (Zachary Quinto), a newer analyst who was lucky enough to keep his job.

Peter takes a look at the information and panic sets in. What appears are very disconcerting numbers that predict the possible collapse of the company.

Of course the audience knows what is coming, making the actors’ performances in the film so much more intriguing.

Paul Bettany, Simon Baker, Jeremy Irons and Demi Moore round out the terrific cast that play out the very real drama with believably dire implications. Kevin Spacey is spectacular as always, providing perhaps the deepest character in the film.

Faced with the fright of an impending downfall, the characters show their true colors; from Peter’s “good guy” personality at the bottom of the corporate food chain all the way to the CEO’s (Irons) heartless amorality at the top.

“Margin Call” presents a number of intriguing ideas with real consequences, namely survival against compassion for others.

What’s more is the film’s overarching principle that there is no good or evil in the world that it creates, there are only results.

To quote Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air:”

“Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.”

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at

 Posted by at 4:32 pm

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