21 October 2011
Margin Call: Worst Movie I Have Sat Through This Year
I thought I knew what I was getting into with J.C. Chandor’s directorial debut, Margin Call. The trailer looked like a cross between Glengarry Glen Ross and Wall Street. I am a fan of both of those classic films. Margin Call is not on the same level as those. It is not even on the same ladder. Margin Call is 105 minutes of my life that will never get back.
Margin Call opens with a corporate firing squad arriving to clear house at a large fictional investment banking firm called MSB. They fire a large percentage of employees, including Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), the head of the risk management department. He leaves his work in the capable hands of his junior analyst Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto). Peter finishes the work that Eric started to find out that the company is about to go ass-up. He calls his co-worker Seth Bregman (Penn Badgely) to get their new boss Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) back to the office to see his findings. They call Will’s boss Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) who in turn calls his boss Jared Cohen (Simon Baker) who then calls his boss and President of the firm, John Tuld (Jeremy Irons).
The whole time, we are not let in on what they do, or really what the problem actually is. All we know is that it is not good, and it affects everyone, even us poor common folk. Somewhere in all this mess, Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore) and Ramesh Shah (Aasif Mandvi) are brought in to double check the numbers, which are confirmed true. When John Tuld appears, we are finally let in on what is going on. The firm has a lot of money invested in mortgages, and the bottom fell out on the housing market, making them the proud owners of lots of dog shit worth less than dog shit.
On the most basic level, Margin Call is a movie about rich people who lose money and how it will affect their rich lifestyles. They talk about how they spend their hundreds of thousands of dollars and how much money the boss at each level of the company made in prior years, and if they will still have a job when all this mess is over. No one ever stops to wonder how it will affect the middle class. This is a film made by rich people about rich people. The biggest douche character in recent film comes in the likes of Seth. What a whiney little bitch. Throughout the movie, he whines that he made over a quarter of a million last year, and that he is only twenty-three -- What is supposed to do now? Who gives a shit?
The script, written by Chandor, is one of the worst I have ever heard. If I had known, I would have kept tally marks for how many times the phrase “Fuck me” was uttered. It has to be about fifty. FIFTY TIMES! Who wrote this? An angry angst-ridden teenager? Margin Call suffers from a lack of plot. By forty-five minutes in, I was bored. By just over an hour, I spotted the first viewer who was actually sleeping in the theater. I am sure she wasn’t the only one.
When we were finally released from this torture, a friend and I decided that we would rather watch all of Michael Bay’s films twice than watch this hunk of junk again. I cannot believe the magnitude of the lifeless acting, terrible script, and uninspiring directing. If you cannot tell, I did not like this movie in the least. Margin Call will be the first film since Skyline that I will bestow the “zero” rating on. There is just no redeeming this pompous pretentious film. Here’s hoping that Chandor never makes another film.