‘Margin Call’ depicts inhumanity of capitalism

Nathan Fisher

Illustration: MaryAnne Bowen

Life is full of decisions and consequences. The movie “Margin Call” takes a fascinating look into the decision-making process of a Wall Street investment firm during a harrowing 24-hour period just before the 2008 economic meltdown. Tough choices need to be made on what to do to keep making money as things go from bad to worse in this star-studded financial thriller.

“Margin Call” opens with the firing of roughly 80 percent of the firm’s staff. Zachary Quinto, best known for portraying Spock in the new “Star Trek,” plays Peter Sullivan, a young analyst with a PhD in physics. Sullivan, who was lucky enough to survive the company cutbacks, discovers a problem that shakes the very core of the firm. Investments made in the past have created losses that now outweigh the total worth of the company. If word gets out, the firm’s stock will plummet.

Surprisingly, this movie is not dull considering the topic, but full of tension and moral dilemmas. “Margin Call” gets really interesting when the bigwig billionaires swoop in on their private helicopters. Here we go: decision time! What do you do if you know your assets are worthless? Should you tell the truth to people and suffer the consequences? Or do you SELL SELL SELL making billions if not trillions of dollars for the big wigs while screwing the average hardworking Joe or Jane who invested in your company and now loses his or her life savings? Yup, you know the call.

“Margin Call” will make you mad, frustrated, and pissed off enough to join the Occupy Wall Street movement. What a waste to see so many brilliant minds pushing numbers in the heartless financial market. That being said, “Margin Call” is highly entertaining and topnotch actors like Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore and Stanley Tucci really deliver. “Margin Call” touches on the nature of money, our corrupt financial system and morals being tossed out the window for a quick buck.