Thursday, March 1, 2012

Margin Call

I rented this movie because it had Kevin Spacey as one of the stars. He always does quirky stuff and sometimes its good. This happened to be one of those times. Other stars in the cast included Demi Moore, Stanley Tucci, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Irons. The movie was the first major film by director/writer J.C. Chandor.

The movie opens with Tucci's character, the head of the risk management department, being fired during a general personnel purge at the investment firm where he works. If you have never seen the process in action, this was a realistic representation - cold, quick and brutal. As he walks out the door, he hands a memory stick to a young colleague and warns him that it may contain dangerous stuff. The young trader spends the night figuring out the risk model and realizes that it spells doom for the company. He sounds the alert. This kicks off an all night session with top management to try to reduce the damage to the firm while knowing that the economy in general will be heading down the tubes.

The appeal of the film is in the reactions of the various characters to the impending economic doom while they struggle with moral and ethical issues in the face of extreme financial losses. If you liked Glengarry Glen Ross, you will like this film.

While this film did not cause box office raves, it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Writing/Screenplay as well as several other awards including an Independent Spirit Award. If you see this movie on the hotel or airline movie list, be sure to see it.

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