Film review: “Margin Call”

No gunfights, no car chases, no exploding buildings, no screaming females.  Margin Call is the most uncomfortable, tense and suspenseful film I has seen in recent memory. Unlike “Wall Street” and especially “Wall Street II”, “Margin Call builds mercilessly and consistently, drawing the viewer to a riveting crisis that holds them spellbound.  A cold-blooded cast right out of the headlines exploring the depths of impeccably evil behavior, rendered totally deadpan.

A big financial firm full of Wall Street bankers and traders all stand by analytically while 70% of their employees are unmercifully purged after the fashion  of “Up in the Air”.  Shortly thereafter, they suddenly find out they unexpectedly stand on the brink of financial disaster.  Their  reaction is to do whatever it takes to cut their loss and survive, with the potential of precipitating a massive market collapse in the process.

The film makes no effort to humanize the players. The plot is a quick and dirty portrait of survival mechanisms at the table of the Gods. Observing the process of robotic hominids dispassionately dissecting complex financial algorithms that can destroy the world is galvanizing. “Number crunching at the Apocalypse”

The cast including Ocsar winners Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons are mesmerizing. Paul Bettany, Zachary Quinto Spock in the re-make of Star Trek), Simon Baker, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci. They ALL galvanize the viewer

Best scenes:  Stanly Tucci’s reaction at being let go after nineteen years of service.  Jeremy Irons’ explanation of the aftermath, between mouthfuls of pasta.

Worse scenes:  Demi Moore’s talent is wasted. Anyone could have performed her minimalist role.

It is film perfection. It is Oscar worthy and must-see.

I give it five of five greenback dollars.

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