Margin Call is a American independent drama film written and directed by J. The principal story takes place over a hour period at a large Wall Street investment bank during the initial stages of the financial crisis of — Theatrically, it was commercially distributed by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions. Margin Call explores capitalism, greed and investment fraud. The score was orchestrated by musician Nathan Larson.
It was screened at theaters during its widest release in cinemas. Preceding its theatrical release, Margin Call was met with overwhelmingly positive critical reviews. An unnamed Wall Street firm begins a mass layoff on the trading floor during a normal business day. Among those let go is Eric Dale Stanley Tucci , head of risk management. Dale tries to speak about his current, unfinished project, first with human resources staff and then with desk head Will Emerson Paul Bettany , but is told that his work is no longer his concern.
While being escorted out of the building he meets one of his underlings, risk analyst Peter Sullivan Zachary Quinto , and gives him a USB drive-stick to look at with a vague instruction to "be careful.
Sullivan works late that night to finish Dale's project, and discovers that current volatility in the firm's portfolio of mortgage-backed securities will soon exceed the historical volatility levels of the positions. Emerson alerts floor head Sam Rogers Kevin Spacey , who also returns to the office.
They attempt to contact Dale, but his company phone has been shut off and he hasn't returned home yet. Cohen's plan is for the firm to quickly sell all of the toxic assets before the market learns of their worthlessness, thereby limiting the firm's exposure, a course favored by Tuld. Rogers protests that dumping the firm's toxic assets will spread the risk throughout the financial sector and destroy the firm's relationships with its counterparties.
He also warns Cohen that their customers will quickly learn of the firm's plans, once they realize that the firm is only selling the toxic securities. They finally locate Dale and Will is able to convince him to return to the office for the day, letting him know that the firm will fight him on his severance and other benefits unless he agrees to their plan.
Will also is honest with Seth, telling Seth he'll lose his job but will get a large severance, and outlines how the entire trading system is basically rigged. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Robertson, Cohen, and Tuld were aware of the risks in the weeks leading up to the crisis.
Tuld plans to offer Robertson's resignation to the board and employees as a scapegoat. Both Dale and Robertson are instructed to remain in the office all day and do nothing with the promise of handsome compensation in return. Robertson expresses regret for not doing more to stop the crisis.
Rogers tells his traders they are effectively ending their careers by selling the toxic assets, but they will be well compensated. The firm pulls off the fire sale despite growing suspicion from the buyers, and the firm takes tremendous losses while dumping positions for cents on the dollar.
After trading hours end, however, Cohen tells Rogers there is another round of layoffs. Angry that he was retained by the firm while most of his traders lost their jobs, Rogers confronts Tuld and asks to resign, but Tuld dismisses his protests, claiming that the current crisis is no different from various crashes and bear markets of the past, and that sharp gains and losses are simply part of the economic cycle. He persuades Rogers to stay at the firm for another two years, promising that there will be a lot of money to be made from the coming crisis.
Tuld also informs Rogers he will promote Sullivan. Rogers says he will accept the deal, but only because he needs the money. In a final scene, Rogers buries his dead dog in his ex-wife's front yard in the middle of the night, and learns from her that their son's financial firm took a big hit but survived the day's trading.
Scott of The New York Times wrote: His formal command — his ability to imply far more than he shows or says and to orchestrate a large, complex drama out of whispers, glances and snippets of jargon — is downright awe inspiring. There is no larger sense of the public good. Corporations are amoral, and exist to survive and succeed, at whatever human cost.
This is what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are angry about: They are not against capitalism , but about Wall Street dishonesty and greed. Their company and their lives are being rendered meaningless.
It is also a horror movie , with disaster lurking like an unseen demon outside the skyscraper windows and behind the computer screens. It is also a workplace comedy of sorts.
Hovering over all of it is the dark romance of capital: Although the film does not depict any real Wall Street firm, and the fictional firm is never named, the plot has similarities to some events during the financial crisis: Goldman Sachs similarly moved early to hedge and reduce its position in mortgage-backed securities , at the urging of two employees,  which essentially mirrors Tuld's comment about the advantage of moving first.
Lehman Brothers moved second and went bankrupt. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Margin Call Theatrical release poster.
Before the Door Pictures. United States portal s portal Film portal. The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, Retrieved October 6, Margin Call [Motion picture]. He might be a famous Vulcan, but Zachary Quinto has no problem being fully human".
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