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Margin Call

In: Business and Management

Submitted By rianoreb
Words 2037
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Margin Call Margin call is an independent drama film of a investment bank firm that takes place over a 36 hour period after discovering a huge financial crisis that is about to occur. Each character takes part in a story that shows their emotions and actions of how to handle an economic downturn. In the beginning of the movie, many of the employees are being laid off and that includes Head Risk Manager, Eric Dale. Before he leaves, he hands Junior Risk Analyst, Peter Sullivan, a USB of his project he has been working on and tells him to “be careful”. Peter later continues on the project that Eric Dale hasn’t completed and then reaches a conclusion that is very problemental to the firm and economy. The mortgage-backed securities which they possess are losing value which will be detrimental to the firm. Peter cannot reach Dale so instead contacts, Seth, Junior Risk Analyst, and Will, Head of Trading, to take a look at his outcome. Soon, this problem is discovered and all the head of the company, including Chief Executive Officer, John Tuld, is forced to have a meeting at 3 in the morning to discuss what actions should be taken. They are conflicted on a solution to save the company but need to do whatever it takes. After a discussion, they then reach a conclusion to sell off toxic securities before the news spreads of their worthlessness. The market opens and they are capable of selling the assets at a discounted price even though many clients are suspicious and will soon realize they are sold products with no value. John Tuld states at the end how this current crisis is no different from past crashes and that is it all a part of the economic cycle.
Eric Dale was the head of the risk management department for 19 years. He is shown in the beginning of the movie as one of the employees being let go. He takes all of his belongings and is shown to be furious after running into Sarah Robertson, thinking she is the reason for his lay off. His project that he was working on is the main reason the conflict of the movie begins after he hands it to Peter Sullivan. His project provided the volatility of the mortgage-backed securities as they were beginning to lose their value. After he leaves his job, he goes missing causing many of the firm’s employees to ask for his whereabouts. Working for the company for quite a long time, it is visible that he truly cared about the company even though he is treated very poorly. When he is finally found towards in the end of the movie he reacts very calm and accepting of his fate of himself and the company. For being laid off, he still agrees to provide consolidation for his research. I believed he was smart with his actions for returning to firm the remainder of the day. He knew the smart way out was to be paid off by company, than to them to make his life misery for the next years if he didn’t comply with them.
Peter Sullivan is a physicist, rocket scientist that changes careers to become a risk analyst for the firm because he earns a considerably more amount of money. Peter shows to be a hardworking individual when he finishes the work of former boss, Eric Dale, instead of going out to drink with the co-workers. He is also very knowledgeable as he has to provide much of the head of the company explanations of his findings that has shown to be destructive to the company. His motivations are shown as he looks at the bigger picture of how this finding will be a problem to society and to the market. Yet is it difficult to read him as an individual, whether he cares more for money or what is morally right. He does significantly care for the company that he tell his superiors of what will happen to firm if actions aren’t taken. In the end of the movie, John Tuld, decides he wants to promote him instead of firing him because he a very smart individual and the firm needs that type of characteristic if they want to continue.
Seth, is the Junior Risk Analyst, who is the youngest of the group. He is joined with Peter as they are they only remaining employees in their department. Throughout the movie, it is evident that his main motivation is for money and to keep his job. Countless times he talks about the salary of his superiors in comparison to his, even though he makes a reasonable amount of money. He asks several times whether he will be fired and there is also a scene in the movie where he is crying in the bathroom stall as he certain he will lose his job. He is also shown out partying with co-workers instead of working like Peter was. He is young and it isn’t a shock to see that he cares significantly greater about his well-being than on moral standards. He is indifferent to how the world will be affected by the market.
Will Emerson, is the Head of Trading for the firm and many might think he is similar to Seth in the beginning of the movie, but there is much more to Will. In the beginning he is out with Seth Partying and it’s hard to see his main intentions for his character when describes how he spends his money. You then see him genuinely care about his co-workers as he wishes he could have helped out Dale for when he was laid off. When Seth asks him if he is being fired he tells him straight that he probably will. He isn’t the type to sugarcoat anything and is straightforward with Seth stating that at first things won’t be great for Seth but he will eventually be fine. Also when Jared Cohen talks with him, it is shown how he looks up to Sam as a mentor. He heard Sam’s argument of how a fire sale isn’t that right way to deal with this crisis and agrees with him fully. They seem to have a sense of what is morally right or wrong but are pressured to do as John Tuld expects them to do in the end.
Sam Rogers is the Investment Floor head of the firm. Throughout the movie, it is observed that he is somewhat the conscious of the movie. In the beginning he seems insensitive to the people being let go, but as the movie progresses, his true character is shown. He is the only character which his personal life is also interpreted in a few scenes. We can see that his dog is dying from cancer and he is suffering from a divorce from his wife. You can truly see that he is a real human being with feelings and sympathy for others especially when the decision to proceed with the fire sale has taken place. This is when you know his true intentions of the movie and as a member of the audience you want to take his side, because he has a sense of what is morally right or wrong. While he gives a speech to the people who are left to sell the rest of the back-up securities he tells them straight that what they are doing is wrong. He knows that selling them to current business partners will ruin any future relationships with them after they find out they are being sold worthless securities. John Tuld decides he doesn’t want to terminate Sam and to keep him for the next couple of year. In the end of the movie it is clear to see that Sam is one of the good guys of the movies but has priorities and problems in his life. He decides to stay in the firm because he truly needed the money, even though he wanted out of the job.
Jared Cohen is the Investment Division Head of the firm. Throughout the movie, it is shown that Jared is the type of person who is insensitive to his colleagues and cares more about himself than anyone else. He initiates the idea to the have the fire sale. He could have prevented this whole situation if he had only listened to Sarah Robertson’s warnings throughout the year. When he speaks to Sarah, you can see that he is will not take responsibility for his actions and she is consequently on her own. Because his failure to comply to her warnings, she is the one who becomes the scapegoat and is blamed for this economic crisis. He does not care for him own image to others, but is more interesting in a paycheck. Jared’s failure to have any emotion for people is also shown in the bathroom scene with Seth. Seth is crying in the bathroom after realizing he will lose his job and Jared does not seem to have any sympathy at all. Even after when Seth states, “this is all I wanted to do”, Jared does not seem to care at all that Seth is losing his dream job and carries on shaving with no sympathy. His motivations is also clear with his idea to sell all the securities and to not come up with another idea that will be more ethical. If he only listened to Sarah’s at the initial warnings, the problem would have never occurred.
Another character is Sarah Robertson, who is the Chief Risk Management Officer for the form. She becomes the “the head that is fed to the traders of the floor and the board”. It is unfortunate that she is the one who blamed for the main incident to occur. She gave many warnings throughout the year and Jared did not listen to her consequently leading for her layoff for a mistake that wasn’t hers. Her intentions seem to be for the good of the company even after she is wrongfully blamed in the end. She reacted very calm and it shows her loyalty for the company as she decides to stay the remains of the night.
John Tuld, is the CEO and chairman of the board. He seems to have a real sense of how a true CEO acts in a time of a crisis. He actions prove that he is willing to do anything at all costs to save the firm. He views the world in matter that it still goes on after a crisis. He states that for many years the world has gone through a recession and even if it stabilizes, the again same problems will occur throughout life. He does not seem to have an ethical mind to see how it would affect others, but he does state he isn’t the type of man to cheat his way to the top, but we then observe that he will do whatever it takes to save his company. At the end of the movie he is shown eating a steak even when knowing how a great number of people will lose their jobs from this market crash. Being the CEO of a company, it is difficult to to come to a conclusion to whether that was the right choice to make, but John Tuld made his being inconsiderate of those affected by his actions.
In conclusion, Margin Call was a movie that depicted how characters react to a detrimental economic downturn. We could see whether they take actions for the sake of saving their own careers and the money in their pockets, or actions for the sake help the situation and those affected by it. Many of the characters were faced with a problem and had their conscious or lack of, and had to face the reality, making wondering how we would react in their position. Many of us, do not get to see how a company in the real world reacts to situation like this, but we are given this a great portrayal of one.

Works Cited
Margin Call. Dir. J. C. Chandor. Perf. Kevin Spacey. Roadside Attractions, 2011. DVD.…...

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