Time Out Sydney

It’s the night before the big collapse and Wall Street can’t sleep...

You may be feeling done with all the postmortems about 2008’s economic collapse – just make it go away, right? Still, if you’d like to see all the varying shades of greed and miscalculation represented in a verbal and sometimes artful manner, JC Chandor’s one-sleepless-night-on-Wall Street drama should hold your attention. Naturally, there are no heroes here, just young analyst Peter (Star Trek’s neo-Spock Quinto) who, after his boss is downsized, picks up his work and sees their investment firm’s holdings headed for the toilet – like, yesterday. Salary-obsessed workmate Seth (Badgley) is phoned for backup, as is brusque manager Will (Bettany). Panic takes root and execs are summoned by helicopter.

Escalation is the main thing Margin Call has going for it, as more substantial actors are trotted out to have their way with Chandor’s realistic-sounding boardroom dialogue. Kevin Spacey’s glib floor chief gives ground to an even bigger corporate prick played by The Mentalist’s Simon Baker; finally, we reach Jeremy Irons tearing into a steak in an airy, top-floor restaurant. He takes the long view of the impending crisis; to hear this great voice curl around a Network-worthy climactic monologue is almost prize enough to get you past the surfeit of pretty skyline shots and vacant stares out of cab windows. Needless to say, no character apologises. 

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By Joshua Rothkopf   |  

Margin Call details

Length: 107 minutes

Country of origin: USA

Year of production: 2011

Classification: MA15+ - Under 15s must be accompanied by parent

Showing 22 Mar 2012-02 May 2012

Director: JC Chandor

Cast: Zachary Quinto, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany

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