Remember when the economy collapsed a few years ago?
I bet you do.
Well, guess what? There's (another: The Company Men, Inside Job, Up in the Air, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) movie about it!
Margin Call is J. C. Chandor's debut feature as writer/director and it's pretty impressive to see the cast he was able to assemble as well the performances he got out of them.
The first to sell from this year's Sundance fest, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate purchased the film last week, and with Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore on the marquee, the studio(s) might just make back their nickel.
But Margin Call is more than an all-star fest as the ensemble individually throw down terrific little character studies.
The film is set at a Manhattan investment firm and takes place over a 24-hour span in 2008. With the financial crisis just taking shape, junior analyst (Zachary Quinto) sees the firm's mortgage-backed securities arm is about to go belly up.
The moral dilemma: Do the advisers notify clients to jump ship, or do they betray the best interests of their investors, make a killing, plea ignorance and walk away rich?
CEO (Jeremy Irons) flies in to size up the situation and, as he does, each character reveals the carnal carnage of the economy of the last three years.
This is a very talky movie and reminded me of something David Mamet would write, but it speaks to the layman (notwithstanding needing a quickie MBA in finance to muddle through some of the industry doublespeak) and gives us a diversity of emotion and character development that really works.
Director Chandor, during the Q&A after a screening, said the movie was shot in New York over just 17 days. Not only is this a feat worth recognizing, but the finished product shows a polish which may be a reflection of a young filmmaker on the rise.
This movie will not change history, but with solid performances and compelling subject matter, you get a film worth seeing.
The character study also adds heft to the everyman notion: the more money you made during the financial meltdown, the bigger monster you may be.