Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quionto, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Demi Moore.

This is a little gem of a film. It’s not easy to create a compelling film that takes place entirely on two office floors, but director J.C. Chandor manages it with ease.

Based loosely on the collapse of Lehman Brothers (the CEO is named Duld God’s sake), the film covers the 24 hour period from the discovery of bad securities by a young risk assessor (Quinto) on the firing of his boss, (Tucci). From there, the seven or so odd characters are all sent scrambling on how to save their firm (and their jobs in the process).

Jeremy Irons is used perfectly as the CEO. Moore, whom I really am not fond of as an actress manages to deliver a solid performance by playing against her bellicose normal sermonizing.

However, it is Paul Bettany that steals the film. His witticisms and amoral views makes the least complex, but most enjoyable character to watch. It is refreshing to see Bettany take on roles more suited to his dapper ability. That whole apocalyptic film thing was not good.

At the heart of it Margin Call is a film about relationships. The bonds and trust that people build. From the CEO to the senior staff, and from the traders to their buyers. When that trust erodes, nobody is buying or selling. In a roundabout way it shows the crux of investment banking: you have to trust that the guy who is selling you a securities product, or its just not worth.

And that’s the big lesson of this film.

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