You may be feeling done with all the post-mortems 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, J.C. 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.