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Margin call- a look at the 1%

November 7, 2011

We’ve seen a number of attempts to re-enact the crash of 2008 from the perspective of the lead players.

It’s all been well documented; “Too Big to Fail”, the crisis weekend and the search for white knights to save the troubled banks.

Margin Call a movie written and directed by JC Chandor brings something new to the table; fiction and drama.

It’s a movie laden with a remarkable cast of tried and tested acting talent including; Stanley Tucci, Paul Bethany, Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons and Kevin Spacey.the movie opens with the bank purging a number of employees including one of the heads of trading, who has just uncovered the severity of the bank’s fragile financial position. As he’s escorted out of the building, he hands the financial details on a disc to another employee, this sets of a chain of events as the bank tries desperately to save itself.

Chandor and his cast do a great job to bring to life the drama that surrounds a world that’s based only on blinking numbers on computer screens and is practically impossible to explain. In the movie, the only people who really get what’s going on at the bank are relatively junior; the complexity of the business is so far is beyond the grasp of those at the top.

The movie’s message is that top talent is attracted to a world that’s purely motivated by financial gain on all sides. It’s only and all about money and any ideas or notions about the implications of their actions have to be surgically brushed aside as individuals fight each other for status and survival in a business that’s always been competitive, but is now brutally so.

It places little blame on individual protagonists, suggesting they are merely pawns in a grand scheme that’s going to get played out regardless of their participation.

It’s a movie well worth a worth a view given the focus on the 99%- this runs counter to that and is a good look at the working realities of the 1%.