Margin Call

Rated 3.0

At an unnamed Wall Street firm, just as they’re harshly downsizing the staff, one remaining analyst (Zachary Quinto) discovers what his newly fired boss (Stanley Tucci) was working on—an analysis showing that the firm is over-committed in toxic assets, to the tune of more than the whole firm is worth. Writer-director J.C. Chandor’s movie is timed to cash in on the current wave of fat-cat-phobia, but the dry joke at its center is also its undoing: all these Masters of the Universe can’t quite understand the graphs and equations they’re batting around, so neither can we. Low-key and plodding, it’s at least earnestly acted by a high-pedigree ensemble: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Demi Moore, Simon Baker and Jeremy Irons (recycling the Boris Karloff impression that won him an Oscar in Reversal of Fortune).