Margin Call is available on Netflix and has been available "On Demand" on various cable services.

I don't know how accurate the behind the scenes dramatization is of what happened, nor do I know if the sudden discovery amidst the layoffs is true, but I have to say that I found the movie fun and compelling to watch.

If you have some free time, I'd love to hear from those in the know just how accurate the movie is (or isn't).

I'm sure time frames have been collapsed as the movie takes place over ~ a 36 hour period of time, but if want to watch decent movie with pretty good acting, it's worth 107 minutes of your time to curl up with a bowl of popcorn and relax. You can rarely go wrong with a movie that includes Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Paul Bettany, Demi Moore and few others.

For some reason, I enjoyed the performance of Simon Baker (The Mentalist). Although he had a small role, I liked his cool, cold matter of fact demeanor in the face of adversity.

I also enjoyed the subtle conflict between "good and evil" protracted by Irons and Spacey as they butted heads when the realization of the collapse of mortgage market was all too clear. The fight between going down with honor or going down with dishonor (a bucket load of cash) is interesting to observe.

The scapegoating, the back stabbing, and the "omission of facts" (some would call it lying), gives this movie a tasty flavor even though the truth may be embellished by Hollywood.





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1 Comment so far

  1. Nemo Lacessit on March 21, 2013 12:03 pm

    I would say it was somewhat realistic in that the basic premise was that whatever the firm held as ‘investments’ had a hypotherical value based on a flawed model that everyone used. The model stated that the value of the asset was, let’s say ‘par’ as long as it held to certain tolerances. Those tolerances would be kept because the probability that they were breached were 1 in a billion or whatever. In the movie they were breached a couple of times in past few days; a virtual impossibility according to the model. So the Jeremy Irons (playing the Chairman) decides to dump them before anyone else decides the model is flawed.

    I worked for one of those firms in the movie. P/L and therefore comp was based on MTM of the position - the firm bought so much of its own product it had to be bailed out by the government. In the years before the crisis bonuses for the mortgage department easily ranged 5-15 bucks with head in the 15-18 range. All b/c the MTM on the p/l was market to model, not market. If the firm balked at this they threaten to leave (and some did still leave) to a firm that ‘go it’ and wasn’t ’stupid’.

    Margin Call is a terrific movie but it takes a little knowledge about fixed income to understand what it’s all about. I saw this movie with someone outside the industry and it was tough to explain that the fixed income world is many many times larger than the equity world.


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