Sunday, 3 March 2013

Film Review: MARGIN CALL (2011)

Margin Call - poster Writer/Director: J.C. Chandor
Running time: 103 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Thriller
UK Release date: 13th January 2012

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 3rd March 2013.


This is a film I have wanted to see for some time now. Critically acclaimed on release, I decided early on it had to go on ‘The List’. It finally aired on TV this week and so ‘The List’ became one shorter (although there are still plenty on there). For a film that is very plot driven I found the performances really stood out, which, I guess, is testament to the acting talent on view. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.

Margin Call - 2 Set around the time of the 2008 financial crash, this film documents the goings on in one investment bank in New York. When the head of risk management, Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), is made redundant, he passes what he has been working on to his colleague, Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto). Dale looks worried as he hands it over and warns Sullivan to be careful. Sullivan looks at the information and fills in the gaps. What he finds will change the financial market forever. He call in his boss, Will Emerson (Paul Bettany), who is out drinking with another colleague, Seth Bergman (Penn Badgley) at the time. Emerson takes one look and calls in his boss, Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), and so it goes on… Rogers boss Jared Cohen (Simon Baker), Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore) and Ramesh Shah (Aasif Mandvi) are all called in and it’s decided they have to call in the head of the company, John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) and the executive board to make a decision. They even bring a reluctant Eric Dale back in to prevent him telling anyone about what he’s discovered. All this occurs in one night and what happens the following day sows the seeds of the financial crash.

Margin Call - 5 On the face of it, this film does not appear to be the kind of thing to inspire an audience. I’m here to tell you that is far from the truth; I found it very compelling and a great eye-opener to the mechanics of the financial crash. Great performances all round with top honours going to Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey; both really excelled in this one. I think it’s a film I’d like to see again because the details of the reasons behind it all are quite complex and I’d like to get a better handle on that. It does lose a little momentum in the final quarter but it’s certainly worth investing the time to watch.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.1/10.

IMDb Score: 7.1/10 (based on 46,919 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 76/100: (Based on 38 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Margin Call - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 88/100 (based on 150 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 74/100 (based on 14,990 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

John Tuld: There are three ways to make a living in this business: be first, be smarter, or cheat.

Eric Dale: I run risk management... it just doesn't seem like a natural place to start cutting.

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 favour. 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, that’s 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.

Margin Call - 3 Sam Rogers: You are panicking.
John Tuld: If you're first out the door, that's not called panicking.

John Tuld: Maybe you could tell me what is going on. And please, speak as you might to a young child. Or a golden retriever. It wasn't brains that brought me here; I assure you that.

Sarah Robertson: We were wrong.
Jared Cohen: You mean *you* were wrong.
Sam Rogers: I'm heading for the conference room.
Jared Cohen: I want you to hear this.
Sam Rogers: I don't want to hear this. How do you think I've stuck around this place so long?

Margin Call - 1 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Facebook:
Official Twitter:
Official Site:

No comments: