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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Margin Call: Kevin Spacey Says Bankers Are People Too

Margin Call is a movie that definitely flew under the radar. I was on a cruise ship in December and saw the preview for it. In spite of having a big name cast, I had never even heard of it.
The subject matter did catch my attention though. It basically is a movie about the market crash of 2008 and how it happened and was perceived.
But to watch this movie, it is so much more than that. The movie also tries to make a statement about the type of people who do this type of work, and the mainstream people who think they are not also responsible, but are (in the screenwriters opinion).
It is the type of movie you can't stop watching once you start. The characters are very gripping. Even though you sort of know what is going to happen, you want to watch and see how it is going to play out.
Most would see this as a movie about the financial crisis. That is the scenario. But that isn't what the movie is about (Not in my opinion anyway). Margin Call is a movie about people, perception of people, and decisions and choices that all people have to make.
One of the main concepts the movie used was that no matter how high up the chain you are, at some point you have a boss you have to go to for the actual decision. You are then required to make a moral choice based on what you are told to do.
The real point of the movie, one that is made near the end, is that while the financial system is out of control and broken, most of the blame needs to be shared by the common man who has nothing to do with the actual monetary system. We are all reliant on the market to facilitate the lifestyle we want to live. The house,  the car,  the nice things, the holidays. These are all things we want, and can only have if the credit we need is available.
The movie makes the point that the financial system creates a scenario where we can have that credit.
Of course, the motives of greed and those on Wall Street are..and were..out of control and they have to accept blame for that. But no one ever tried to stop them. We all benefit from what they do, and mostly they are just people like you and me. Just trying to create a good life for themselves.
They have families and problems just like the rest of us. To scapegoat them as non caring only out for themselves egomaniacs is completely misplaced and the movie tries to humanize the characters to achieve that.
I believe they succeeded.
I give this movie my highest recommendation. I urge you to see it. 

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