‘Margin Call’ is a strong first feature from writer/director J.C. Chandor, and easily the best of the narrative films dealing with the recent financial crisis.

Material that has played so dry in films like ‘Too Big to Fail’ is enlivened here by interesting characters portrayed with tremendous relish by actors including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Stanley Tucci.

At times, though, the writing feels more adept to the stage than to film. Many scenes are perfectly formed unto themselves, but feel choppy in the overall. You get the sense that certain scenes exist only to deliver the “big moment” for each actor.

It’s not as seamless or as cinematic as a ‘Glengarry Glenn Ross’, but it is the work of a writer with a distinctive voice and a definite point of view. His characters aren’t easy; they’re empathetic portraits, but that never means he lets any of them off the hook.

 

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