I think that Kevin Spacey is a great actor, but even great actors can't do much with a poor script, and that's why he's such a disappointment in "Margin Call," a movie that was supposed to be this year's "Wall Street," but ended up somewhere on Skid Row.
Spacey is Sam Roberts, way up in the corner-office hierarchy of a Wall Street firm. He's a good leader, popular with those who work for him, trusted by his own bosses, like John Fuld (Jeremy Irons). But J. C. Chandor, the writer and director, saddles Spacey with a script that is trite in its opening scenes, and so much so in the closing one that I was ready to run from the theater, screaming "Trite! Trite! Trite!"
Chandor's screenplay will be familiar to anyone who has read or watched the news in the last few years. The firm has been selling securities that have no value, and the roof is about to fall in. Many jobs will be lost, and the firing line will look familiar to a lot of people. Some, who have broken laws, may go to prison, but in today's American banking and legal system, this does not seem much of a possibility.
The cast is good, with Demi Moore as the killer-witch, Stanley Tucci as the man who starts unraveling the ball of twine, Zachary Quinto excellent as the young number-cruncher who takes it the rest of the way.
The problem is that Chandor's writing relies on the cliche, and almost nothing will come as a surprise.
Margin Call opens today on a number of screens