Margin Call (2011) (R)

The first and most glaring feature of "Margin Call" is its cast. If there ever was more of an imposing selection of highly accredited actors in any other film, I would like to see it. Although the film employs this large and wondrous cast, it leaves the viewer wanting to know who is the bad guy, who is the good guy, and who is the main character. Undoubtably, there are characters that you don't like and others you do, but does that make them fit into the stereotypical mold of "the villain" and "the hero"?
I know nothing about finances, absolutely nothing—maybe that's because I have no finances...whatever the reason, I still don't know anything. "Margin Call" is all about money, if there really was a central character it would be the money itself. How to trade money, how to receive money, how to screw other people out of money, how to make more money for yourself, how much money the other guy gets—you get the picture. It's easy to forget this when you are looking at a very sophisticated film like "Margin Call" but I would advise you to keep in mind, if you ever watch it, that money is really what it's all about.
The term margin call refers to investors sowing more money into an investment to cover losses from a plea by the broker—at least, that's what I'm trusting the internet with because I really have no idea. When you think of this definition, "Margin Call" would be an appropriate name for the film.
When an investment bank downsizes and fires a man who was fairly high up the ladder of politics, he hands the project he was working on to a low level two year employee and says, "Be careful". Twenty minutes of film and a little quick editing and montage scenes later and hey there's something wrong with this company...let's call in everyone whose ever worked for us.
So the big boss comes in and it's explained to him that this company is going to crash and burn—what do you want to do?
I love movies that take place in an office. When you limit yourself to one or two sets, unbelievable creativity can set in and you can get really great movies...or...they fall flat on their faces.
"Margin Call" falls somewhere in between these two sides, more on the good. The stylization reminded me of David Fincher. Between the cast and the interesting shots and the rapid change of focus, it makes a very attractive film.
But the source material was a little over my head to be enjoyable. It was easy to understand what was going on, it was tough to know why. Perhaps I didn't catch it or maybe they never addressed it, either way I was missing a piece of the puzzle.
The cast—Kevin Spacey, Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker, and Demi Moore—need I say more?
"Margin Call" reminded me of "Glengarry Glen Ross" because of its huge cast. But "Glen" has some amazing shouting drama and yelling scenes that needed to be in "Margin Call". Everybody was sweating from the pressure but you never saw anyone break...I wanted some breaking.
I felt like "Margin Call" should have been more of a thriller, but I was content with what I got.

Score: 3 out of 4 stars

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