Margin Call

 (6,632)
7.11 h 47 min2011X-RayR
Set in the first twelve hours that launched the 2008 financial crisis, an entry-level analyst unlocks information that could prove to be the downfall of an investment firm.
Directors
J.C. Chandor
Starring
Kevin SpaceyPaul BettanyJeremy Irons
Genres
SuspenseDrama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
Rentals include 30 days to start watching this video and 48 hours to finish once started.
Add to Watchlist
Add to
Watchlist
By ordering or viewing, you agree to our Terms. Sold by Amazon.com Services LLC.
Write review

More details

Supporting actors
Zachary QuintoSimon BakerPenn BadgleyMary McDonnellDemi MooreStanley TucciAasif MandviAshley WilliamsSusan BlackwellMaria DizziaJimmy PalumboAl SapienzaPeter Y. KimGrace Gummer
Studio
tribecashortlist
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentsmokingsubstance use
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

6632 global ratings

  1. 72% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
Sorted by:

Top reviews from the United States

Jason FrancisReviewed in the United States on January 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Human, All Too Human
Verified purchase
Despite a tough story to get across to viewers, Margin Call succeeds brilliantly. This is largely due to a tight script and superb cast even though the story rarely leaves the sterile confines of a high-rise and some cars over a 24 hour period. Paul Bettany, Zach Quinto, and Stanley Tucci along with Demi Moore perform their supporting roles with aplomb but the real prizes go to Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons who are nothing short of brilliant as morally compromised yet very human characters responding to incentives they know to be wrong but inconvenient to their personal wealth and career prospects. This is a thinking persons film through and through, something all too rare these days.

If you want to know how the early stages of the Great Crash of 2008 happened, this story is pretty damn close to what the internal dynamics and incentives were like at the big investment banks on Wall Street like Goldman Sachs circa mid-2007 (which largely avoided the worst effects due to being first to dump and then short the MBS bonds and other derivatives it had once sold) versus Lehman Brothers (which didn't dump its assets quick enough and went bankrupt setting off the acute phase of the credit crunch and job losses). Even if the details of the crisis and technical-speak are lost on you (and they really don't dominate at all, merely being plot devices for the onslaught of Nemesis upon the guilty characters), seeing the way past decisions undermine loyalty, responsibility and empathy is just spot on. The politics of a massive publicly owned corporation and its intricately operating hierarchy are something everyone who has worked in finance or another Fortune 500 company will find chillingly laid bare in a subtle way. There are no cartoonishly evil characters here, and even though Jeremy Irons' scenes make him out to be amoral he merely thinks that is the system they all signed on to, and he's somewhat right despite his callousness. Spacey tries to hold the high ground when asked to essentially backstab all his employees, colleagues in other firms and life's work but in the end gives in to the one law of the jungle on the Street: money. And while it's easy judge him as unscrupulous and unprincipled in that moment, the viewer should not forget another brilliant line delivered by Bettany earlier in the film defending the investment firms' actions: you and I are guilty too, as without these amoral creatures and their great corporate vehicles, we wouldn't enjoy our lifestyles as we know them. You shouldn't leave this film smugly confident that you aren't above these characters and they world they portray, even if in a more abstract, quotidian fashion.
175 people found this helpful
M. LaneReviewed in the United States on December 20, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Movie Has A Message
Verified purchase
The message is that our minds have been moved from productive works to finance, to the detriment of society. It's nothing new:

"I'll tell you what I think of the way this city treats her soundest men today. By a coincidence more sad than funnny, it's very like the way we treat our money. The noble silver drachma of old that we were so proud of, and the recent gold coins that rang true, clean stamped and worth their weight throughout the world, have ceased to circulate. Instead, the purses of Athenian shoppers are full of shoddy silver-plated coppers. Just so, when men are needed by the nation, the best have been withdrawn from circulation." Aristophanes, 400 BC

In early 21st century (Margin Call) America, a man like Eric Dale could have been building bridges but instead he's devoted his skill to finance, and indeed just before this story takes a bridge collapsed in Minneapolis. Likewise, the space shuttle had recently wrecked, and her the movie shows us Peter Sullivan in finance instead of rocketry. Society needs these people to improve capital goods, but instead they have been withdrawn from those productive ends and placed into finance, where they make money by trading money, not by creating things which could help 'the nation'. Just as in 400 BC, the once great currencies of modern times have been debased, now just cheap paper or digits created from nothing on computers. The misapplication of human & physical resources at the same as the destruction of the currency, to Aristophanes and the makes of this movie is just a coincidence, but to me it is causal.

Large complex societies need currency not only to make trades of goods and services possible, but also to provide information to the people in the economy to tell them what to do with the resources they have. "The price system" that was described in 'I Pencil' is supposed to encourage people to do the right thing for others, to respect their needs and preferences. But in today's 'capitalism' it sends corrupted information throughout the economy, because it's based on a corrupt currency. It told Eric not to design bridges but to trade fiat currency. It told governments not to be careful how it consumed resources but to expend them on needless wars.

Before I get too political, I will end by saying that this movie is a work of many people's subconscious minds, illustrating more profoundly this phenomenon more than our waking minds ever could. Highly recommend it. The excellent acting, lighting, and gentle humor are bonuses to the meaning.
9 people found this helpful
SusanneReviewed in the United States on February 6, 2016
3.0 out of 5 stars
Therapeutic
Verified purchase
To reviewers saying the movie is predictable, well, of course it is. It's based on history. Would you call a movie about WWII "predictable"? To reviewers saying the ending didn't explain anything, it didn't need to. We all know what happened after that. That grave was being dug for everybody. This movie is a drama, not a thriller, but it does help to explain how any crisis has to start somewhere. We are shown ground zero, but individuals without any financial knowledge (such as me) may still not fully understand the details of what went down.

I moved to another state in May 2007 and lived there until January 2009. I couldn't find a decent-paying job and alternated between blaming myself for picking a bad place to live and blaming myself for being a general failure. It took several years before I fully realized what had been going on during that period. I just did some more research and looked at the TED spread for 2006 to 2009, and boy, my timing for that move (and for hauling @$$) was UNCANNY. After seeing this movie, I can completely stop blaming myself for bottoming out during that time and struggling in the years thereafter.
82 people found this helpful
AudiobookloverReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
What was that?
Verified purchase
So unbelievably boring. The preview made it seem really exciting, but I think they literally took every good camera angle, line, and moment from the movie and crammed it all into the preview. Seriously the preview is way better. So just watch the preview and save yourself from the absolute snorefest of this movie.

I highly recommend this for insomniacs. This film will gently lull you off to sleep, just like you used to fall asleep in history class (not because history is boring but because it's taught in such a boring way. History is actually quite exciting and so was the 2008 Wall Street debacle... and yet... somehow, just like your average high school history class, this manages to be the most dry and boring possible way to tell the story to ensure nobody gives a crap about any of it.)

Watch The Big Short instead. I LOVED that movie. A thousand percent better than this maudlin piece of crap. You literally get an hour into this movie before you have any idea what's even happening. ANd not because it's complicated financial wizardry mere mortals can't understand but because they literally DON'T TELL YOU what is happening. Everything is a big cryptic secret until the anti-climactic reveal in boardroom meetings. Yes, that is exactly as boring as it sounds.

So put down that bottle of melatonin. Don't pick up that bottle of sleeping pills. Just turn on Margin Call and drift peacefully off to sleep.
8 people found this helpful
scott g.Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great cast + Great acting = Watch this film to see some of our best actors working together.
Verified purchase
If you liked the "The Big Short", I suspect you will enjoy "Margin Call".
If you work in finance, you will probably find the script too "dumbed down".
But the film is written for a general audience, not just bankers.

This is an all-star team cast, telling an interesting story, that peaks behind the curtain into the "cut throat" world of New York high finance.

A head's up, this isn't an installment of "Mission Impossible", its about finance.
There are no car chases, machine gun fights, sex scenes, explosions, blood splatters, saliva kissing, or big climatic endings. It's set in a bank office, and Bruce Willis isn't on the roof.

The dog is a metaphor, figure it out.

Some advice:
Before putting too much stock into reviews, here is what I have learned.
If the reviewer gave a low rating, but admits that they only watched (10-15) minutes of the movie,
they're not qualified to give an opinion.
If the reviewer cannot construct a proper sentence, and relies on stream-of-conscious, mangled meanderings,
run the other way.
If the reviewer can't master proper punctuation & grammar, why take advice from an Idiot? (Rhetorical)
8 people found this helpful
William T. SawyerReviewed in the United States on February 4, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
A surprising find
Verified purchase
Had never heard of this movie, and stumbled across it looking for something available for free streaming on Amazon Prime. It captured my interest in the first 2 minutes and held it firmly til the end. There are a few parallels with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, but this film is more focused on the (ruthless) behavior of an individual corporation and it senior management. I found the characters more interesting than the plot, which was not particularly complicated or creative, but nonetheless engaging. Jeremy Irons is superbly malevolent as the CEO, Kevin Spacey is good as the morally conflicted member of senior management. One problem I had is that there are many characters, but time didn't allow for their development. And, some of the main characters don't really attract interest, e.g. the Zachary Quinto character (Peter Sullivan) and the Demi Moore character (Sarah Robertson), who have a lot of screen time but are rather bland. Simon Baker, however, plays a poster child character for that group of 40-somethings that seem to permeate corporate America, offering little to their organizations beyond malignant personal ambition and Machiavellian maneuvering skills. Worthwhile viewing.
39 people found this helpful
Bare BonesReviewed in the United States on November 15, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
THE BARE BONES REVIEW
Verified purchase
This item arrived quickly Via Amazon prime.

Video quality for this Blu-ray is exceptional. From the suits to the computer terminals, to the cars and the buildings themselves, there's plenty of fine detail to see. I found no issues with the audio presentation. All of the dialogue was crystal-clear. Special features seem to have been kept to a minimum.

The story itself was interesting but not exactly what I was expecting. Suffice to say, if you don't have any reasonable knowledge of finance, you're going to have a difficult time following this film. It's a very slow moving picture, and it's definitely not geared towards everyone. I had seen a few select scenes from the film before and was impressed with them, however, the rest of the film left quite a bit to be desired.

For what it tries to say and explain, it accomplishes this rather well. However, unless you do this sort of thing for a living, it's probably not a movie you'll find yourself watching more than once. They could've called this film, Office Meeting: The Movie, and it would've been accurate. If you can rent it or borrow it from a friend, I'd advise doing that first. If you have to own it, I'd suggest getting the best deal you can.
4 people found this helpful
Catherine ChengReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
If I had to make an actionable timely call, I would give this film an award titled "Best Moral Education Business Film".
Verified purchase
I've seen all of the rest of the high reviews given by various Amazon Prime Members who've watched this film. Now, I can understand why they would give it such praise because of its focus on how hard it's to keep your moral values intact as a businessperson on Wall Street. On the other hand, I was totally confused by the economic terminology mentioned in the film thereby making it hard to decipher the underlying stories within the general premise itself. My gut instinct for anyone interested in working on Wall Street or as an entrepreneur would be to watch this film because it will teach you to hold your moral values close in all situations though for everyone else it might be a tossup. I will let you decide.
17 people found this helpful
See all reviews