Well, so much for keeping up with the posting. But you can't force the words to come out; they're either there or they're not. Also, I find that the more writing I have to do that is work-related, the less able I am to come up with anything even marginally entertaining for the ol' blog.
But that changes today! At least, for today.
The first item to come off the backlog is "Margin Call," a movie released last fall that didn't receive anywhere near the amount of attention that it deserved. A thriller of sorts, "inspired by real events," the movie unfolds over the course of one 24-hour period at a major financial firm in New York City - the kind that we all know so well and love so much in this day and age.
Let's start by talking about the cast. It's a powerhouse cast with a lot of hardware up on the mantel, names like Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany, Stanley Tucci, Simon Baker and Zachary Quinto (plus, the added bonus of Quinto's eyebrows). That's a great cast for what appears to have been an unknown director - one J.C. Chandor, unknown at least to me - and Chandor gets the most out of his team.
The story begins with a scene reminiscent of "Up in the Air," which depicts the layoff of Stanley Tucci, the firm's risk manager. Unbeknownst to his superiors, Tucci has been doing some research on the firm's recent investment strategies, and he leaves his work with Quinto, with the ominous warning, "be careful." That evening, while most of what remains of the staff are out celebrating the fact that they didn't get laid off, Quinto digs into the research, and quickly realizes that the firm is built on a house of cards, one that is about to come tumbling down.
One by one, he shepherds this information up the ladder - to Bettany, to Spacey, to Baker and Moore, and then finally to the firm's CEO, Irons - who plays the role with a gusto equal to his voice portrayal of Scar in "The Lion King." In the wee small hours of the morning, a strategy is worked out, heads roll, and the next morning, the traders go into action. It's probably not much of a spoiler to say that the solution for the firm isn't exactly in the best interest of the other trading firms, the consumer, or the public at large.
All in all, this is excellent work by a great team. I look forward to seeing what Mr. Chandor has to offer in the future.