Monday, October 24, 2011

"Speak as You Might to a Golden Retriever"

I saw a terrific movie this weekend called Margin Call starring Jeremy Irons as the patrician owner of a Wall Street trading firm, and Kevin Spacey and Demi Moore as his segundos, with Stanley Tucci as the fired risk assessment guy. Simon Baker (from The Mentalist) plays the good-hair guy who always seems to float out of a shit storm completely intact, and Paul Bettany (he played Chaucer in A Knight's Tale) is the working-class fellow who survives, but does not like what he has to do in order to achieve the mission.

This movie is extremely well-written and well-acted, with all of the action taking place in 24-hour frame as the rivets pop out on the mortgage backed securities business.

Loosely based on the meltdown at Lehman brothers back in 2008, this movie gets it perfect when the midnight panic meetings are held and almost no one really understands the math.

Two "doggy" bits are in this movie too: the first is when Kevin Spacey is seen crying over the fact that his dog is sick with cancer and has to be put down that day; a nice contrast with the completely bloodless way in which Spacey's character had just fired one third of the staff just before moving to bankrupt scores of thousands across the world by green lighting the sale of hundreds of billions in worthless paper.

The second dog reference in the movie is from Jeremy Irons who turns to a risk-assessment "quant" (a Wall Street numbers cruncher) and ask him to explain what he has discovered by going over the portfolio. "Speak as you might to a young child, or a golden retriever,” asks Irons.

It is a perfect line in a near-perfect movie. I predict Oscar nominations for writing and directing for J.C. Chandor, as well as nominations for the principals in the cast.



Seahorse said...

You and Chris Matthews both give it raves today. He provided a short clip, and it was stunning.


Viatecio said...

I am so out of the loop ("clueless" does not begin to describe my lack of knowledge here) when it comes to topics such as what's under discussion in the movie, but a good write-up and a solid preview (including the appearance of a decently look-able actor) make it one that might have to go on the "To-see" list.