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Margin Call

January 28, 2012

Actors in expensive suits look at computer monitors and say “F**k me.” Then, they show paperwork to other actors who say “F**k me.”

J.C. Chandor makes a memorable directorial and writing debut about a fictional Wall Street firm in 2008. Chandor put together a $3.5 million dollar budget and a plethora of big names actors to bring his Oscar nominated dialogue to life.

The budget and time constraints are evident in the film as Chandor tries to get into his groove as a director. The writing is crisp, the acting is solid but the film suffers from too many stagey flat shots.. I like that he tried to utilize a washed out color palate to mimic the coldness of the business climate. However, the shots make the production feel staged. I understand the need for static shots so the actors can spit out the rapid fire dialogue. However, when the setting feels staged the effectiveness of the film diminishes. You are supposed to be a fly on the wall but the set ups distract and take you out of that world.

The cast is game. It is good to see Paul Bettany back in dialogue heavy films after his recent ventures in Priest, Legion and The Da Vinci Code. Kevin Spacey is spectacular as his first non-smarmy character in years.

The acting and writing saves the day. Without the actors the film would look like a film school production of the crisis on Wall Street. I know that sounds like an insult. However, if you are investing in actors and solid dialogue you need to build a decent look. I’m looking forward to what Chandor does next.

Enjoy the flick. Dig the Spacey. Leave not saying “F**k me.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    January 28, 2012 5:09 pm

    Kevin Spacey is almost never non-smarmy. Such roles may be limited to this and “Recount”, aka: the hanging chad crisis.


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