LeoGlossary: Margin Call (Film)

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Margin Call is a 2011 American drama film written and directed by J. C. Chandor in his feature directorial debut. The principal story takes place over a 24-hour period at a large Wall Street investment bank during the initial stages of the 2007–2008 Great Financial Crisis. Its focus are the actions taken by a group of employees during the subsequent financial collapse. The title comes from a finance term for when an investor must increase the securities or other assets used as collateral for a loan when their value falls below a certain threshold.

The film begins with Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci), a senior risk management analyst at a large investment bank, being fired as part of a major layoff. On his way out, he gives a flash drive containing his work to Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto), a young associate analyst. Sullivan later discovers that Dale's work is a model that predicts the imminent collapse of the bank.

Sullivan and his colleagues, Seth Bregman (Penn Badgley) and Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) , work through the night to analyze Dale's model and confirm its findings. They then confront their superiors, including , Jared Cohen (Simon Baker) the bank's head of risk management, and John Tuld (Jeremy Irons), the bank's CEO, with the bad news.

The bank's executives are initially dismissive of the model, but they are eventually forced to confront the reality of the situation. They decide to dump the bank's toxic assets onto the market before it's too late, even though they know this will cause widespread financial damage.

It is a task that falls on the shoulders of Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey). He is a 30+ year veteran with the firm, one who has the trust of Tuld. Rogers develops a plan to unload the asset to clean up the firm's balance sheet.

The film ends with Sullivan witnessing the aftermath of the bank's decision. He sees people losing their jobs.


  • Kevin Spacey as Sam Rogers
  • Paul Bettany as Will Emerson
  • Jeremy Irons as John Tuld
  • Zachary Quinto as Peter Sullivan
  • Penn Badgley as Seth Bregman
  • Simon Baker as Jared Cohen
  • Mary McDonnell as Mary Rogers
  • Demi Moore as Sarah Robertson
  • Stanley Tucci as Eric Dale
  • Aasif Mandvi as Ramesh Shah
  • Ashley Williams as Heather Burke
  • Susan Blackwell as Lauren Bratberg
  • Maria Dizzia as Tuld's executive assistant

Director: J. C. Chandor

Writer: J. C. Chandor

Box Office Gross: $19,504,039

Distributor: Roadside Attractions

Genre: Drama

Release Date: September 29, 2011



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