Where greed is god

MAR­GIN CALL ( MA15+) ★★★★■ Di­rec­tor: J. C. Chan­dor ( fea­ture de­but) Stars: Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Si­mon Baker, Demi Moore, Paul Bet­tany, Stan­ley Tucci

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

JUST in case you missed the final re­sults of the Global Fi­nan­cial Cri­sis – read a bank state­ment lately? – here is a quick re­cap. They won. You lost.

The vic­tors’ clu­b­rooms were lo­cated on Wall Street, home to the most ma­li­cious money men on the planet. They played a cyn­i­cally so­phis­ti­cated game of mu­si­cal chairs on the world mort­gage mar­ket.

When the melody stopped in 2008, the mal­ady be­gan. The sharpest, smartest Wall Streeters kept the spoils of the boom. Ev­ery­one else got the bust. Charm­ing, huh? Thank­fully, the su­perb GFC drama Mar­gin Call isn’t about to hit us with a full ac­tion re­play of what turned out to be a hor­ri­bly one- sided con­test.

No, this is what went down in­side the coaches’ box at a cru­cial tip­ping point, where the match could still have gone ei­ther way.

As the film be­gins, a low- level risk an­a­lyst at a ma­jor mer­chant bank is work­ing late into the night crunch­ing the fresh­est fi­nan­cial num­bers at his dis­posal.

He does not like what he sees. The data says his firm has been trad­ing be­yond its means for a con­sid­er­able pe­riod of time. Un­less they make a fast move, the doors will close to­mor­row. It is that bad.

Those higher up in the com­pany ma­te­ri­alise im­me­di­ately, as if out of thin air. Through­out the night, one cold, hard decision must – and will – be made.

It’s a decision that could pos­si­bly save the com­pany from ruin but al­most cer­tainly con­sign its cus­tomers, trad­ing part­ners and even its own em­ploy­ees to the scrapheap.

The screen­play of Mar­gin Call was re­cently nom­i­nated for an Os­car, and should have won. I doubt there will be a bet­ter- writ­ten film to hit cine­mas this year. Though an ex­ces­sively talky af­fair, the film’s abun­dance of great lines of di­a­logue and pow­er­ful sto­ry­telling smarts cast a daz­zling spell.

Of course, it helps that first- time wri­ter­di­rec­tor J. C. Chan­dor ( a name to watch in the fu­ture) has a AAA- rated cast at his dis­posal to get this dif­fi­cult job done – es­pe­cially on those oc­ca­sions where the com­plex­i­ties of the fi­nan­cial world threaten to get the bet­ter of the av­er­age viewer.

It is here the likes of Jeremy Irons ( the ruth­less CEO), Kevin Spacey ( pic­tured, his loyal, yet con­flicted at­tack dog) and for­mer Tas­ma­nian Si­mon Baker ( a slick blame- shifter par ex­cel­lence) step for­ward to sim­plify and hu­man­ise the tale in terms we can all un­der­stand.

More a sen­si­bly suit- and- tie hor­ror movie than a how- it- hap­pened hatchet job, Mar­gin Call will send a chill up the spine of any­one who owes one red cent to any fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion.

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