Margin Call

Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 125 Ratings

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  • Summary: This tense Wall Street thriller follows the staff of a high-powered brokerage firm in the 24 hours before the stock market crash of 2008. Featuring an all-star cast, Margin Call was one of the most talked about films of the Sundance Film Festival and was also the Opening Night selection ofThis tense Wall Street thriller follows the staff of a high-powered brokerage firm in the 24 hours before the stock market crash of 2008. Featuring an all-star cast, Margin Call was one of the most talked about films of the Sundance Film Festival and was also the Opening Night selection of New Directors/New Films. (Roadside Attractions) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 38
  2. Negative: 1 out of 38
  1. 100
    Chandor's shrewdest bit of business is figuring out how to make an A-list movie with a $3.5-million budget. Solution: buy low, sell high. Hire last decade's A-list – Spacey, Irons and Demi Moore – and give them their best parts in years.
  2. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Oct 20, 2011
    90
    The accomplishment of this movie is that it allows you to sympathize with them, to acknowledge the reality of their predicament, without letting them off the hook or forgetting the damage they did.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 19, 2011
    88
    The movie with which it has the closest relationship may be "Glengarry Glen Ross." The same sense of desperation, the same need to make the sale, permeates Margin Call. Both films are to some degree about the dehumanizing impact of money and both are driven more by characters than plot points.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 20, 2011
    75
    Margin Call has a spectacular cast, and the 24-hour cycle of events gives the movie the compressed dramatic effect of a fine play.
  5. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Oct 21, 2011
    75
    Spacey does his best work since "American Beauty'' as a tired middle-aged corporate warrior whose greatest compassion, in the end, is reserved for an ailing dog he has to put to sleep.
  6. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Oct 20, 2011
    70
    Chanodr has said that he wanted to portray the 2008 financial meltdown in all its complexity, assigning everyone a fair share of the blame. But the real strength of his debut feature is how persuasively it depicts the fishbowl world of high finance, whose executives seem incapable of seeing past their towering salaries and privileged lives.
  7. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 19, 2011
    25
    As a movie, it's so tightly framed you gasp from claustrophobia. As a film of cryptic boredom, I cannot believe the actors were able to say their lines without cue cards.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 32
  2. Negative: 8 out of 32
  1. Oct 23, 2011
    10
    It's definitely the best Wall street movie I've ever seen. Very well-written: complex characters and smart lines. It makes you want to becomeIt's definitely the best Wall street movie I've ever seen. Very well-written: complex characters and smart lines. It makes you want to become rich by every means necessary. It's that good! Expand
  2. Oct 2, 2012
    9
    Almost perfect. The film's contemporaneous relevance might be compared to certain stage plays in Shakespeare's time. The acting here isAlmost perfect. The film's contemporaneous relevance might be compared to certain stage plays in Shakespeare's time. The acting here is intoxicating in its honesty; the story-telling is exquisitely humble. To appreciate this movie solely as a "cautionary tale" is to overlook the true value proposition. Expand
  3. Jan 3, 2012
    8
    This is a good movie. Great actor selection, Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons really making the difference. Comedy, drama and action in oneThis is a good movie. Great actor selection, Kevin Spacey and Jeremy Irons really making the difference. Comedy, drama and action in one place. It is a must-see. Expand
  4. Sep 2, 2014
    7
    J.C. Chandor's debut is both challenging and a gripping look at corporate America during the early days of the recession of 2008. One boldJ.C. Chandor's debut is both challenging and a gripping look at corporate America during the early days of the recession of 2008. One bold look at corruption. Expand
  5. Apr 1, 2012
    6
    Margin Call is more like Shark thriller than financial meltdown movie. What'd you expect from movie about people who 'trapped' all nightMargin Call is more like Shark thriller than financial meltdown movie. What'd you expect from movie about people who 'trapped' all night fighting the beginning of crisis? Powerful script, act and direction. Expand
  6. Nov 13, 2011
    3
    If you know what a Margin Call is then you will be disappointed with this movie. The movies way of explaining anything is to say 'in plainIf you know what a Margin Call is then you will be disappointed with this movie. The movies way of explaining anything is to say 'in plain English'. Apparently no-one in the upper echelons of the firm know nothing about securities as it is boiled down to the lowest common denominator possible. This is no Enron- The smartest man in the room' - this is Fast and Furious. Fail. Expand
  7. Jan 13, 2012
    0
    How can a film be labeled a thriller and suspenseful when I know what happens? And how can any reviewer say that their review containsHow can a film be labeled a thriller and suspenseful when I know what happens? And how can any reviewer say that their review contains spoilers? I know what happened. This is just a made up story of what Mr Gecko said "... is good". I knew they all did the wrong thing, thought only of themselves ,and took the money. Not one person cared. If this fictional account of what may have happened prior to the biggest hit to our economy in my 63 years didn't happen, the film would not have been made. There is no one to root for. Mr Irons says it's a great story. Maybe if it weren't true ( the outcome). Why would anyone praise a fictional film about soulless, inconsiderate, selfish people? And none of these people paid in any way, they made a bunch of money and not only has no one gone to jail, many got hired by our government. They deliberately sold worthless paper (isn't all paper really worthless) and didn't inform their customers. Lying, no? All the people that lost their jobs, their homes, their savings hopefully will not see this and no one involved in it will make much money. The reviewers, the actors, well, the people who don't worry about paying a mortgage, eating, etc. probably find it amusing as once again they are sticking it to the rest of us. I am prepared to suspend belief and even a film with no redeeming value of any kind can still be a well made film with believable characters, except, when the disastrous outcome is true. This film does not enlighten (what is a margin call? does it have anything to do with what happened? with the film?) nor entertain. If you are unlucky enough to see it, hopefully you will come away angry. But to paraphrase some dialogue from the film, "nothing is going to change. there will always be the haves and have nots. F*** 'em." Expand

See all 32 User Reviews

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