'Margin Call' Review By slysnide

What goes up must come down.
  • OVERALL
    4.0
    GREAT
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
Writer/Director J.C. Chandor's debut film centers around the start of the 2008 financial crisis at a firm in New York City. Over a 24hr period, the CEO, executives, and analysts debate the pros and cons of selling off their bad stock before news of their value hits the street.

Featuring a star studded ensemble cast of Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Aasif Mandvi, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci, this film carries itself wonderfully, even through some of the more dull scenes thanks to this great ensemble.

While the whole film features a series of tense sequences of dialogue, it doesn't get old. Not just because of the cast, but because the tensity just builds and builds, never breaking. You expect it to, and it never does. It just quietly eases into the nail biting climax where the company has waited to make their call to sell or not to sell down to the wire. Overall it was a very impressive way to handle a slower paced film, by just layering it with one tense scene after another, and relying on an ensemble besides just a couple characters which wouldn't have worked, not just because of the story, but because no one or two characters can carry this story on their own. You need the ensemble to keep it interesting as it also rackets up the tension to constantly be cutting from one character to another. And another intriguing point of interest is that you wouldn't expect to sympathize with some of the characters who take seriously the notion of running off with the money, leaving everyone else high and dry, but strangely you do.

Produced by Quinto's production company "Before The Door Pictures" for a budget of just $3,500,000, this film's grade 'A' quality screams a big budget Award Season shoe in, but unfortunately went virtually unnoticed save for a few nominations at various award shows. Unfortunately, the same can be said of its box office, having made only $15,147,193 which is still a decent hull for a 330% profit margin.

And perhaps what really puts the icing on the cake is the irony that at least 80% of the film was shot on the 42nd floor of 'One Penn Plaza' in New York City where a trading firm had recently gone out of business.

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Comments (2)

  1. Corey W.

    Decent film.Executed great dramatic tension between all of the characters. Great review.

    2 years agoby @coreyFlag