Review: Margin Call

March 21, 2012, 8:42 am
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Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci - the litany of A-listers loaded into Margin Call is as lofty as you'll find in any motion picture. But what has the premise to be an Oscar-contender turns out to be further proof (see: Ides of March) that a gaggle of all-world actors doesn't guarantee an award-worthy picture.

The fictionalized take on the origin of the current financial mess takes an Up In The Air approach off the bat, folks getting the boot from an NYC investment bank, Tucci one of the the castoffs. Unbeknownst to the company, Tucci has been doing some research that is about to bring the place down. No worries, Spock has been sparred to save the joint.

Newly-out-of-the-closet Zachary Quinto plays a MIT genius that puts the pieces of the puzzle together and sets in motion the agonizingly-long "what-in-the-heck-do-we-do-about-this" portion of the flick. In fact, 90% of the movie is "what-in-the-heck-do-we-do-about-this" with random punchless scenes sprinkled in to slow things down to a near crawl (Paul Bettany standing on the ledge of a building, Penn Badgley weeping in a bathroom stall). 

Rookie director J.C. Candor is in way over his head, doubling as the writer of its largely zipless script. The best portion of Margin Call, the frenetic sell-off, lasts all of about 5 minutes tops.

Given that Margin Call has a cast that is capable of delivering epicness, it's an utter shame that it didn't land in the hands of a more capable, veteran director. As it is, Margin Call can't beat the street, missing the mark in a major way given the massive expectations.

Grade: C-

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COMMENTS
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It was many moons ago in a darkened theater that my love of cinema took root as I snuck in to see my first R-rated film, Blade Runner. The futuristic vision that Ridley Scott unleashed on the screen was simply soul-expanding — spiritual even. From that moment, my mission to have that kind of magic strike again began in earnest. My hope is to be able to shine a light on films that may just have that kind of effect on you — films that may be lesser known, but not lesser in impact. 
             
- Erick Weber

Final Cut Scoring System
99-95% Opening night
94-90% Opening weekend
89-86% In theaters
85-83% On Demand
82-80% Netflix/Redbox
79-75% If desperate
74-70% If dozing off
69-65% If intoxicated
64-60% If comatose
Below 60% If brain dead

Erick's reviews
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