Lethal urbanity

I am so incensed by the corporate greed that precipitated the financial meltdown with no (as yet) obvious repercussions, that I couldn’t imagine I would be able to sit still through a movie about it. Still, after reading some positive reviews, I went to see “Margin Call”. As it turned out, I was rather riveted. True, I couldn’t understand all the financial implications of the risk projections, but then the bigwigs in the movie couldn’t either! The tone of the film felt very authentic to me. There weren’t those big emotional blow-up scenes that some directors seem to feel are necessary to move the drama along. Instead, there were quietly intense conversations, with tension ebbing and flowing as the big bosses can’t quite believe what is about to hit them. The film is beautifully served by actors like Stanley Tucci, Kevin Spacey and – for me the big stand-out – Jeremy Irons. The subtlety with which he plays an utterly ruthless corporate head with utter charm is nothing short of brilliant. And what an entrance—arriving by helicopter and, as he strides into the board room, being glimpsed tantalizingly past the heads of the assembled company as the camera pans quickly. Then, there he is, exuding lethal urbanity. He never raises his voice but the scene between him and Spacey in the men’s restroom, is one of pure menace. In the full body shot of Irons you see, in every fiber of his being, that here is a man who will get his way, no matter what. It’s a thought provoking film in that it doesn’t paint all these market insiders as evil – some, in fact, even have a conscience, imagine that! I found it worth seeing, in any event, purely for the performances.

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