Margin Call

Directed By: J.C. Chandor

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci

With the Occupy Wall Street movement raging around the country, this is an ideal time to put out a movie about the decisions of a few that have tremendously impacted the lives of many.  J.C. Chandor's Margin Call chronicles the beginning of doomsday for a large investment bank on Wall Street.  Margin Call is a gripping thriller that will give the world an honest interpretation of what took place behind closed doors when finance execs realized they were holding the world's biggest pile of crap.

On a day when an investment bank is making mass layoffs, the powers that be decide to fire Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) one of their most experienced employees in risk management.  However, they fail to realize that Eric has discovered something unsettling about the firm's assets that could negatively impact millions of Americans around the country.  During his unceremonious and swift departure from the building, Eric gives Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto), one of his former analysts, a flash drive with his current work.  Dale warns Sullivan to "be careful".

A curious Sullivan takes a look at the financial models Dale was building and discovers a looming catastrophe for the firm.  Because of increased volatility in the markets beyond historic trends, the mortgage-backed securities in which the firm is invested heavily could soon be worth nothing.  When Sullivan hastily notifies senior trader Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) and head of sales Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) of his findings, the situation quickly escalates to the firm's CEO John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) and culminates in some heartless decisions that will have larger consequences for the financial services industry and the US economy as a whole.

Margin Call is a pretty awesome corporate thriller.  It just doesn't get any better than this!  With Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons, and Demi Moore on deck, we've got some stellar acting veterans.  Trust me when I say that they pull out all the stops to make this predictable material absolutely electrifying.  Each one of them brings their A game for this one.  Spacey in particular stands out. The transformation of his character from a heartless banker to a conflicted leader is quite impressive.

Beyond the movie's powerful acting talent, the filmmaking behind Margin Call is smart and brooding.  It shows a fictionalization of what went on behind closed doors before the financial crisis.  What unfolds in the conference rooms of an out-of-touch investment bank is not simply a formulaic thriller; it's the first successful dramatization of a disaster movie.  We all know that a financial calamity is brewing and that a lot of people are going to get hurt in the process.  Chandor's feature film debut is both timely and timeless; it will ring just as true as it does today when the next crisis rolls around down the road.

I had a vodka cocktail with me while watching Margin Call.  I didn't drink a single drop of it during the film.  I honestly forgot that I had it.  The movie is just that good.  Whether you go to a local indie theater or watch this flick at home through your video on demand service, you can't miss it.  This tremendously entertaining and utterly captivating thriller passes the Sobriety Test with flying colors.  Margin Call unquestionably gets a sober rating.