An unnamed investment bank has just liquidated 80% of its "non-essential" workforce. Among those shit canned is Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci). On his way down the elevator, phone turned off, company passwords voided, Dale offers a flash drive to his former employee that has survived the layoffs. Peter Sullivan (Quinto) analyzes the data as only a doctor of physics can and he uncovers what Dale had feared the most. The investment bank is overleveraged and ruined because of the mortgage crisis/failure. One-by-one the firm's upper management team are notified.
Dale disappears, but in his stead, Sullivan, his coworker Seth Bregman (Badgley), their boss Will Emerson (Bettany), his boss Sam Rogers (Spacey), and their overall managers Sarah Robertson (Moore) and Jared Cohen (Simon Baker) are notified. In a great moment of panic and mutual understanding, the firm's C.E.O. and majority shareholder is called in for an emergency board meeting. John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) assesses the situation based on Sullivan's appraisal and quickly puts into motion a ruinous plan of action. Tuld decides to activate the biggest stock sell-off and swindle perpetrated on unsuspecting investors. The film's intent is to expose this sort of chicanery not only for what it is, but for what it arguably means about capitalism and corporations.
Throughout the film the writer/director takes potshots at millionaires and billionaires. They are painted as wasteful, exorbitant, wicked and callous people. Much of the discussion revolves around how much money the company's employees spend frivolously. As we all know nobody deserves to be rich no matter how hard they work, or how much they accomplish, of how many jobs they create for others. Furthermore, "rich" people spend all of their money on booze and whores while the rest of us poor schmucks are busy wasting our lives away working ourselves to death for a fraction of what those scoundrels earn. Right? I will not eat at the Olive Garden ever again affluent monsters! Earlier, I wrote that Margin Call is wonderful in that the featured actors are superb. Everyone is devoted throughout to provide the most realistic and convincing portrayals possible. Unfortunately, every else about this film is cockamamie and deluded.
Did corporate fat cats sabotage ordinary investors to save their own hides? You bet. Does this limited fleecing make capitalism villainous and subject to communist infiltration? Margin Call would make a fine communist propaganda film. Remember folks it is "inspired" by a true story. Semantically that is leagues different from being "based" on a true story. I want to enjoy Margin Call but it is flat, boring, not nearly as tense as it should be given the alleged circumstances faced by the corporate participants, and the predominant theme is capitalism's avarice. Screen Spotlight is not intended to be a political website, but can any reasonable viewer deny this is an inherently political film? Watch it if you are fascinated by politics and economics but expect to learn very little other than how disgusting capitalism supposedly is.
Copyright © 2010 Screen Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
Certain product data © 2010-present Screen Media, Inc. For personal use only. All rights reserved.