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Margin Call

7.11 h 42 min2011X-Ray15
Peter Sullivan is handed an unfinished report into his company's current financials and as he completes it discovers that the place he works in is in huge financial meltdown. Delivering the news to his bosses they conduct a 24 hour meeting to discuss what can be done - to save themselves.
J.C. Chandor
Zachary QuintoPaul BettanyKevin Spacey
None Available
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Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.

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Supporting actors
Jeremy IronsDemi MooreStanley Tucci
The Movie Partnership
Content advisory
Alcohol usesmoking
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.4 out of 5 stars

1685 global ratings

  1. 70% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

PigwinReviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 July 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
Watch and Weep.
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Margin Call is probably the best fictional treatment of the latest economic crisis and is, to my mind, in the same league as the wonderful, acutely intelligent documentary Inside Job. The action takes place over a couple of days in the Manhattan headquarters of an unnamed highly respected investment bank and the film opens with the bank's latest round of brutal lay offs. One of the victims is a senior risk analyst who manages to pass on a file to a relatively new employee and the contents of the file are explosive and the bank is on the brink of the biggest bank collapse of all time.

The cast is outstanding and includes Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Zachery Quinto and Jeremy Irons in top form as CEO John Tuld. It is Tuld's responsibility to make the margin call which means it is up to him to order the bank to start dumping worthless stock before news spreads of the imminent collapse of the bank an action which hanged their customers out to dry! It is now known that some banks had gone so far as to create hedge funds intended to fail which enabled them to bet against the funds and make money.

It is clearly portrayed just how immoral corporations really are; their goal is to succeed and make ever more gargantuan profits, pay their employees obscene salaries without any thought to the human cost involved. The rich protect themselves and get ever richer and there is absolutely no sense of responsibility towards customers or the public interest.

Highly recommended.
37 people found this helpful
wwllggReviewed in the United Kingdom on 09 October 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Good premise for a film, terrible execution
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Please do not waste your time or money watching this film! Yes it has a heavy weight cast, but the script is insufferable. The screenplay feels like an early draft, padded out with disjointed and worthless monologues. There is no sense of urgency and the film repeatedly squanders many opportunities to make its point, whatever it is. Jeremy Irons was unwatchable, I was forced to physically turn away to minimise his painful performance. I really don't know what's going on with Paul Bettany's accent. I happen to work in finance, and the portrayal that the senior team would be unable to understand basic finance is a joke, and that instead they would just look stricken at the sight of a computer screen.
11 people found this helpful
SHMReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 May 2021
3.0 out of 5 stars
Unsatisfying on several levels but watchable.
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This film is largely set in the boardroom of an unnamed bank at the start of the 2008 banking fiasco. A junior employee, at the behest of his newly sacked line manager, investigates some numbers on a computer file. The numbers do not add up. Volatility Margin Limits – figures used in risk assessment - have been regularly breached by the bank’s activities in the previous weeks, if not for longer. A crisis ensues. Heads fall – well, some heads fall – as the bankers get their knickers in a twist. A Fire Sale is the strategy it adopts as a sort of damage limitation exercise and so the bank dumps whatever it is it dumps onto the stock market…….. or something.

And that “something” is one of the problems with this film. I came away feeling that I had gained no insight whatsoever into the banking business. Not surprising, since bankers and other people working in the financial sector do not want us ordinary folks to know what shenanigans they get up to anyway. In that regard, the film “Rogue Trader” (Ewan McGregor) was much more informative. But then again, the book upon which it was based was written by disgraced trader Nick Leeson while he was in prison.

The film boasts a good cast e.g. Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci and others. They must have been paid a lot of money just to sit around looking glum or serious. Indeed, they often warned the viewer that “things were going to get worse, much worse” (can’t remember the exact quote), only they didn’t. At least, not in the film.

I remember former UK Chancellor and PM Gordon Brown also wore one of those serious faces. He also used the word “serious” a lot in his speeches as his lot are prone to do. They seem to think that gravitas makes them look like people with substance and depth. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are gamblers. Worse. They are just a bunch of lads, and, increasingly, ladettes, who get off on handling huge amounts of money. Indeed, I had a colleague who was one of those lads. He managed the school budget. He got promotion higher up in education where instead of managing a mere few thousands of £s, he was put in charge of a budget of £5,000,000. Whenever he mentioned the sum of £5,000,000, which he did frequently, I could swear the crotch of his trousers started to bulge. He and I had had a troubled working relationship. This precisely because he was such a lad, playing all his idiot laddish games and making my working life even worse than it already was. Not long before he took up his new position, he overplayed his hand with me once too often. The matter was taken to my boss (though not by me). Our boss held a meeting. This meeting turned out to be an opportunity for me to put this lad in his place. I did. With knobs on. I still remember how I wiped the cocky smile off that man’s face. After the meeting, he walked around like a man shellshocked. It is a memory I still relish. My point here is that this is the sort of person who is managing banks and other financial institutions. Doesn’t that make you feel safer already?

These lads’ games can make or break ordinary folks who suddenly find themselves without a home or a bank balance. Indeed, I myself was affected by their nonsense. At the time this film was set, I had decided to cast my fate to the wind and pack in my job, and career, as a teacher. (Fed up with the abuse meted out to me as an employee, by resigning I was thumbing my nose at my employers. Very satisfying.) Anticipating this step, I saved up hard for several years before finally resigning. In addition, I downgraded into a very small house, and the remaining capital from the sale of my old house was added to my savings. I intended to live off those savings for as long as possible. In those days one still got interest from savings lodged with the bank. The then expected levels of interest were factored into my calculations when I was working out how long my money might last. (To make the money last, I was prepared to, and did, live in poverty for over a decade. By “poverty”, I mean a no fridge, no cooker, no washing machine, no TV, no internet etc. level of poverty.) Only a couple of months after I had started my new life, interest rates dropped dramatically. I was getting pennies in interest whereas before I had been getting pounds. Under my particular circumstances, it was a substantial amount of money to lose. But what annoyed me the most, and what still annoys me, is that banks make out that it is they who are doing us the favour when they lodge our money.

In fact, what people with bank accounts are really doing is lending the bank their money. When a bank lends you or I money, it exacts a hefty price e.g. interest payments on a mortgage. Yet when you or I lend the bank our money, it does its damnedest to inveigle its way out of paying us anything at all. And that is what banks finally did, using such crises, using their own bad management, as an excuse. They have stopped paying us for lending them our money. Banks have been getting away with this sort of thing for so long now, that people forget that it is they who are lending the bank money, and that it is us to whom the banks are responsible for their existence. So secure are banks that their con has worked – which it largely has – that they not only pay us next to no interest, but they make it harder and harder for us to get at our money. My local bank branch has closed and the next nearest is an 18 mile round trip away. Being the soul of generosity that it is, the bank does send a bank van our way twice a week. I love queuing up in the wind and rain to use the bank van. In this way, by reducing interest payments and cutting down the number of properties the bank has to maintain, the bank increases its profits enormously. Of which we see barely a penny.

In truth, the financial sector is responsible for the high cost of living. Its job is to keep the prices of commodities high to increase profits. If there was no financial sector, the cost of living would plummet.
3 people found this helpful
ImeyoReviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 July 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Any reason why there were so many expletive
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Film stated off okay, but the amount of swear words were unbelievable - and also so unnecessary. I had to turn down the volume to stop my kids hearing the continuous barrage of expletives. Should I have counted how many. I watched this film to get a feel of what caused the financial crisis and how prop-shops operate in general. I liked the ideas in the film. Jeremy Irons was fantastic and held his role well. Kevin Spacey showed leadership but I expected more. Not sure what Demi Moore brought to the film. I shan't be watching this again and will be donating the film to a very large container i.e. the bin.
5 people found this helpful
Senthuran SelvarasahReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 January 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Not worth the time...
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It gives an inside to how big banks operate and probably depicts how the financial crisis of 2008 with the Lehman Brothers came to happen. While I appreciate that, I feel like there was something missing for it to be a mainstream and popular movie. The whole time I was waiting for some kind of plot twist or something unexpeced to happen, but the only surpurise came when the credits rolled and I realised that's the end of the movie. Also, what was the point of the dog in the movie? and why that scene at the end with Sam's Ex-wife (I presume?)... All in all I feel that it is not a must-watch movie and not something I would ever recommend anyone. Many better movies out there to watch.
6 people found this helpful
K. PAULDENReviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 August 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Human side, within one firm, of problems with financial stock
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There is too much attention on faces, and people being shocked, and looking miserable; not enough build up or character development.
I kept waiting for some different action, some plot twist, but it soldiered on in the same mood right through the movie.
Interesting in small degree because it showed how a 'position' can suddenly be uncovered, and the question, not answered here, is why nobody in the company realised before.
It's also hard to have any sympathy for people who we assume are just in it for the money, whatever their fortune brings.
Impressive cast of actors, with Jeremy Irons (nearly carried it off), Kevin Spacey (who I thought did the best job), Demi Moore, Paul Bettany (not quite believable for me). The lesser-known actors were, credible I felt.
Not to be watched for action, but rather for seeing people surprised, incredulous, sad, angry, deflated, trapped, and resigned.
4 people found this helpful
iglooReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 September 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Surprisingly realistic and well portrayed tale of modern greed gone wrong
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Having worked as a Director of many financial services firms (UK, European and American) since the 1980’s I was pleasantly surprised how realistic this snapshot of a crisis in the making was portrayed.

The film was well paced and the excellent ensemble cast portrayed the situations and pressures they found themselves in well. The attitudes of those portrayed from the high to low was a generalisation but on the whole well done. The callousness was typical of the American firms for which I worked.

There were few redundant scenes and you could feel the the tensions rising as the inevitability of the crisis unfolded. These were not necessarily characters with whom you could sympathise but that, perhaps was the point despite the “Labrador” moments.

An engrossing film which we’ve watched several times as there is considerable depth to the characters and situations which repays careful repeated viewing,
One person found this helpful
NikskiReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 January 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Superb cast and a story well told
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given the subject matter - high finance during the 2008 crash, this film was remarkably engaging. All the acting was first class, as was the direction. Compelling narrative - I'd recommend it. If you liked this, you will love The Big Short.
10 people found this helpful
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