Based in part on the collapse of the Lehman Brothers, "Margin Call" is about the implosion of a huge investment company. It's release timing (both in theaters and on VOD) couldn't be any better with the recent events of Occupy Wall Street.


It all begins with some downsizing. Eric Dale, (Stanley Tucci) who works in risk management is fired, and given a cold speech by someone hired by the company to do the job massacre. Before he leaves the office, he hands off a flash drive to Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) that contains some unfinished work.


After surviving a day of firings, Peter works on a financial file on Eric's flash drive. Suddenly, he sees something that doesn’t add up, and calls in his work colleagues Will and Seth (Paul Bettany and Penn Badgley) to double check the information. It's bad. Like, "Call everyone into the office at 2 AM" bad.

Enter a group of fat cats who try to piece together a plan to save themselves more than the company. The leader of this group is John Tuld, who is played coldly by Jeremy Irons. Meanwhile, certain figureheads like Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey) and Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore) wrestle with the blame and the responsibility for such impending chaos.


Sitting on the side are Dale and his friend Seth, who are promising young individuals who are simply at the bottom of the totem pole during this event, but are allowed to look in. Their boss, Will, is someone whose extravagant lifestyle is put immediately on the line. We see his fancy sports car, but by the end of "Margin Call," we’re not sure how long he's going to be able to keep it.


Working with such big terms and specific concepts, "Margin Call" is a little clunky in how it tries to speak to a general audience, instead of its true target of those who actually read more than just headlines in the business section of newspapers.


In the movie, the fat cats ask for employees to explain the financial situation by saying things like "Speak to me as you would a child," and even with such a slightly condescending request, the movie doesn't make immediate sense to the non-Wall Street minded.

With such a cast, first-time director J.C Chandor is able to churn out some truly solid monologues from Spacey, Irons, Bettany, and Tucci; each of them who are somewhat startling in their own right in their overall performances. Their monologues speak both to the nature of the events within the movie, and to our times themselves. Some "Margin Call" monologues seem to predict the type of outrage that we'd be expressing during the recent Occupy movements.


The best scene in the film overall involves Irons sitting at a breakfast table, overlooking a beautiful view of the city he's about to tarnish, expounding upon the eternal philosophies that got everyone in this hole in the first place. "There will always be the same percentage of fat cats," he says.


Yet with such a strong cast and some good monologues, the movie's strictly business sense does lack some tension. In fact, it feels like the movie resigns itself to shoulder shrugs than it does a truly outraged view about the whole events. It's sobering, but it doesn't shake you up as much as it probably could.


"Margin Call" shows some of the emotions that affect those directly involved with this moment, with Badgley having a teary moment in the bathroom, or with Quinto looking stone petrified throughout the film's entire events. But really, there's nothing that "Margin Call" can do, but show things getting worse, and worse, and worse.


"Margin Call" might be a decent tragedy to watch for those who are financially eloquent. But for others, it might just be a pricey snoozefest.   -- NICK ALLEN, is also a film critic for The Scorecard Review and member of Chicago Film Critics Association