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Oct 11

Margin Call

Margin Call is actually a really good movie – one of the best I’ve seen this year, actually. It’s a tough ask to make an entertaining movie about something as removed as a bank’s risk management department without deviating off into motorcycle chases or fist-fights, but this movie has done that. Filled with several Oscar winners and other A-list actors (Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto and more), Margin Call is carried mostly by the engaging dialog and the way its actors pull it off. It details less than 48 hours in an investment bank which has figured out that its exposure to securities it holds on its book are about to put it out of business – unless it can dump all of them off onto unsuspecting buyers. From what I can tell, it presents a realistic, believable view of things, and I found it tough to sympathize with the executives who got the axe when they appear devastated and still walk off with enormous severance packages that would tide most middle-class families over for years. Unfortunately, Margin Call only seems to be playing on limited screens – I saw it at the Aquarius in Palo Alto, but it wasn’t at the big chains.

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