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Review: Margin Call

Dumbed down
By ANN LEWINSON  |  October 18, 2011
2.0 2.0 Stars

The financial crisis of 2008 awaits its Social Network; until then we have Margin Call, which zaps its credibility from the get-go when a downsized risk analyst (Stanley Tucci) openly passes a flash drive to an underling (Zachary Quinto) as he's escorted him from the building by security. It contains a file that suggests this investment firm holds mortgage-backed securities a bit longer than advisable; what follows is a 24-hour meltdown of meetings and dark-night-of-the-soul speeches that would have been better suited to the stage. Both esoteric and dumbed-down (CEO Jeremy Irons asks Quinto to explain the problem to him as if he were a child or a golden retriever), J.C. Chandor's screenplay fails to tell us anything we don't already know, although his feature debut does boast an engaging Paul Bettany as a Nicorette-chewing Brit, Kevin Spacey as a broker who does not talk down to his dog, Demi Moore with her hair in a bun, and an elegantly evil Irons, dining as his company burns.

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