Thursday, September 25, 2014

Margin Call (2011)

Director: J.C. Chandor
Writer:    J.C. Chandor
Cast:       Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore

Follows the key people at an investment bank, over a 24-hour period, during the early stages of the financial crisis.

I have seen people referring to the film as an account on Lehman Brothers. The head of the Investment Bank is named Tuld which is similar to then Lehman Bothers' CEO Fuld. The thing is, at the end of the film it is shown that they were the first to successfully liquidate their considerable position on MSBs and thereby starting the meltdown. That would make them more similar to Goldman Sachs whose actions were described as the one who ran out the door first locking it behind them. In the film also Tuld says to the skeptical Kevin Spacey character that it is not panicking if you are out the door first. 

This was my second watch and the good thing about the film is that it doesn't try to overly explain the technicalities behind what is happening which makes it very crisp. The film is not really about making its audience understand the minute details and it very much works as a disaster film where we don't really care much for the people who are in danger.  There are characters in it who represent the man on the street questioning the way they do things and the exorbitant money that they make. It might not be very realistic to have characters in the middle of it questioning the morals and ethics behind it but I think the film gets away with it mainly by having an incredible cast list.

It is incredible that the the budget for the films was just $3.5 million when in fact it looks very much like a $35 million picture. They managed it by having a very 90s cast list who also might have taken a pay cut in order to express their outrage after the 2008 financial crisis. It is a great companion piece to the academy award winning Charles Ferguson's documentary 'Inside Job'. 

Will Emerson: Jesus, Seth. Listen, if you really wanna do this with your life you have to believe you're necessary and you are. People wanna live like this in their cars and big fuckin' houses they can't even pay for, then you're necessary. The only reason that they all get to continue living like kings is cause we got our fingers on the scales in their favor. I take my hand off and then the whole world gets really fuckin' fair really fuckin' quickly and nobody actually wants that. They say they do but they don't. They want what we have to give them but they also wanna, you know, play innocent and pretend they have no idea where it came from. Well, thats more hypocrisy than I'm willing to swallow, so fuck em. Fuck normal people. You know, the funny thing is, tomorrow if all of this goes tits up they're gonna crucify us for being too reckless but if we're wrong, and everything gets back on track? Well then, the same people are gonna laugh till they piss their pants cause we're gonna all look like the biggest pussies God ever let through the door.
Seth Bregman: Do you think we're gonna be wrong?
Will Emerson: [long pause] No, they're all fucked.

Rating: 4/5