Margin Call Review: A thrilling take on the stock market crash with an excellent script

‘Margin Call’ is an excellent drama that takes us behind the scenes of the crash of the stock market.

An Investment bank is going through a lot of people being laid off at their firm, including Eric Dale, head of risk management, and the boss of Peter Sullivan and Seth Bregman, the two employees the film mainly follows. As Eric Dale is leaving the building he hands a USB stick to Peter Sullivan and warns him to be careful. Peter gets to work figuring out what Eric failed to and discovers something alarming. What follows from there is a tense and thrilling telling of the greed and devastation that took place in 2008.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Margin Call’ and thought it was a pretty much perfect film but the thing that I found hard to deal with was the amount of stock market terminology that I didn’t understand. I found it quite hard to know exactly what was going on because of this but it wasn’t so damaging it bothered me too much. On the one hand I understand that if they altered it to be more understandable it would have felt unrealistic but I would have been able to follow it easier if it was.

There is a powerhouse of talent in this film including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Paul Bettany, Zachary Quinto, Demi Moore, Penn Badgley and Simon Baker. Wow, that’s a lot! I fully believed their characters and cared about what happened to them. You are constantly throughout the film unsure who will still be left in the firm by the end, and who will be gone, and that is gut wrenching as the film takes time for you to connect with these characters. There are some great scenes between two or three characters with dialogue that provoke deep thought. While it is horrible to witness the greed of the higher ups in the firm, the actors show they are human and not monsters. They could have easily just played them as money hoarders and foul mouthed degenerates, which is what people want, someone or something to blame, but that’s just not the truth, the writers, director and actors contributed to a very bold decision to humanise them and they feel real.

The cinematography in ‘Margin Call’ is unoriginal but does a fine job for what it sets out to achieve. I enjoyed the scenes where characters had some gravity to them which the director deserves some credit for.

‘Margin Call’ is thrilling, and with not one scene of action or violent argument, just pure genius dialogue and that is impressive. I love ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’ but that was filled with scenes where big events or debauchery is taking place, and the fact that ‘Margin Call’ had me completely engaged the whole way through with none of that is an achievement that should be commended.


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