Margin Call

  • 15
  • J C Chandor (2011)
  • US
  • 102 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Following factual dramatisations of the 2008 US financial meltdown in HBO's Too Big to Fail and BBC's The Last Days of Lehman Brothers, Margin Call plays the fictionalised card, focusing on the rapid reaction of a Lehmans-like investment bank to the crisis over a 36-hour period. In an assured feature debut, writer/director JC Chandor drives the action by way of a MacGuffin, in this case a USB stick handed to Zachary Quinto's whizzkid junior by Stanley Tucci, who plays a bitter risk manager being escorted from the building during a cull. News of the information then travels up through the ranks until it reaches elusive CEO Jeremy Irons, giving a delicious, pinstriped version of his Pontiff from The Borgias. The movie is mostly shot at night in a New York skyscraper, and the claustrophobic, VDU-illuminated isolationism of the financial services industry is cleverly implied, as the central disaster is humanised by individual ones - notably Kevin Spacey's conflicted middle manager, whose dog is dying of cancer.

Plot Summary

Drama starring Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Irons. When risk management expert Eric Dale is laid off from a top investment bank, he passes information to junior analyst Peter Sullivan that indicates financial disaster is looming. The next 36 hours will prove crucial for the survival of the bank and the executives who run it.

Cast and crew


Sam Rogers
Kevin Spacey
Will Emerson
Paul Bettany
John Tuld
Jeremy Irons
Peter Sullivan
Zachary Quinto
Seth Bregman
Penn Badgley
Jared Cohen
Simon Baker
Mary Rogers
Mary McDonnell
Sarah Robertson
Demi Moore
Eric Dale
Stanley Tucci


J C Chandor

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Stealth Media
Contains swearing.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 13 Jan 2012
Certificate 15