In Margin Call, first time feature film writer/director J.C. Chandor creates an almost Mamet-esque ensemble piece set in the world of big business over a 24 hour time period. Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) is unceremoniously fired on the eve of an important discovery regarding the company’s financial future. He hands his data over to young risk assessor/trained rocket scientist Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) who tosses numbers around and learns that the company’s projected figures far outweigh the company’s worth (or something to that effect, its demise is inevitable in any case). Thus begins a dialogue-driven yet consistently interesting behind-the-scenes exploration of big business’ damage control strategies and the necessary casualties that result. Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, and Demi Moore are on hand as higher-ups, as is Jeremy Irons as the company’s cool-headed realist of a CEO. All of these accomplished actors contribute to the theatrical nature of the film as they intermingle and divide from scene to scene revealing the relationships between business and self. The company will undoubtedly survive the night, big business always wins in the end, but their method of survival and how it effects both its employees and the greater economy is endlessly compelling and frighteningly realistic.
Margin Call opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.