If you've come looking for a full review of Margin Call -- which The New Yorker's David Denby has called the best Wall Street movie ever made -- you've come to the wrong place.
I can only tell you about the first ten, maybe fifteen minutes of the film, because I attended the matinee showing of Margin Call at the Angelika Film Center in Soho on Friday, the movie's opening day. As the audience was just settling in to the first act, the action turned upside down on the screen. It started at the top of a scene in a moving elevator, which enhanced the disorienting effect and helped to fuel an initial impression it could have been a stylistic choice. (My first thought was that we might have been looking at the POV of a curiously-placed security camera).
But then we noticed that the sound was as warped as the visual. And the reversed image continued uniterrupted through multiple shots (note: downtown Mahnattan lit up at night and flipped on its head looks pretty wild).
Before long people began waving their arms and shouting in the direction of the projector. When that didn't work, a few eager audience members marched outside in search of cinema staff. After a few minutes someone pulled the plug.
I thought it was a metaphor, the chatty older woman sitting behind me said as the lights came back up. For how the world turned upside down.
Without seeing the rest of the movie, we already know that it did, as Margin Call is (reportedly) a fictionalized account of the financial crash of 2008. But the only crash we witnessed today was in the operations of good old Angelika theater -- one of the few places on earth that you can feel the ground shake beneath you in the dark and not be afraid it's an earthquake or a terrorist attack.
Alas, Angelika did not do right by her patrons today. The manager on duty addressed the audience from in front of the screen, explaining (not terribly apologetically) that there was a problem with the film, and that it wouldn't be fixed until the next showtime, two hours later. He assured the restless audience that their tickets would be good for a later showing.
But we're all getting refunds, right? a man shouted.
You will get passes, the manager said.
So we all lined up to get our consolation prizes. I explained to the manager that I needed to get back to work and would not be able to wait two hours for the next screening. He assured me that my pass would not expire for a year.
I strongly believe our tickets should have been fully refunded, in addition to a free pass for another time. And so did seemingly everyone else who was in the audience today. But apparently that's not the world we live in.
On my way out, I overheard someone complaining to the manager about a different technical issue, and I approached him later to ask what went wrong. During the final moments of Midnight in Paris, he said, the sound went out completely and the audience didn't hear a thing. He, too, got free passes to another movie.
What's going on, Angelika?
A message left for the general manager (who was not on duty at the time) has not yet been returned.
This is what I can tell you about Margin Call':
--Stanley Tucci will clean up during awards season
--Demi Moore looks great with her hair tied into a loose, low bun. (Why do you never wear you hair like that in real life, Demi?)
--You can take Zachary Quinto out of Star Trek, but you can't take the Star Trek out of Zachary Quinto.
--In the right circumstances, even good people can become bad guys.
Here's what others, who saw the entire film, had to say:
'Margin Call' is a thriller, moving through ambient shadows to the anxious tempo of Nathan Larson's hushed, anxious score. It is also a horror movie, with disaster lurking like an unseen demon outside the skyscraper windows and behind the computer screens. -- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
...if there's a false note or an overwrought scene in 'Margin Call' I couldn't find it. Chandor has just enough camera technique to do what he needs to do. In this largely indoor movie, the city looming outside is a palpable presence; the camera, quiet and relentless in moments of confrontation, tracks silently at night through the empty trading floor, a ghost invading a once healthy company. -- David Denby, The New Yorker
All kinds of factors come into play, from the moral to the mercenary, and even if you think you know all there is to know about how Wall Street plays its games, 'Margin Call' will open your eyes. -- Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times