“Margin call” is a good movie. It could be even much better theater play…
The intrigue of the movie based on the events of financial collapse that took place around 2008. Plot compresses for dramatic effect several months or even years events happened inside narrow circle of financiers of Wall Street investment banks into 24 hour climax of fire sell of toxic papers. Careful observer can find real life prototypes for several key characters in movie. Demi Moore -Blythe Masters, inventor of credit default swaps; Jeremy Irons - Henry Paulson treasury secretary at Bush and before that CEO of Goldman Sachs; Zachary Quinto - Fabrice Tourre ("Fabulous Fab"); Simon Baker - Lloyd Blankfein who is present CEO of Goldman Sachs. The imaginary Bank in film is obviously Goldman Sachs in the spite that some character prototypes worked in other places in the time of events.
There are two major reasons to specifically identify Goldman Sachs as a prototype for ground zero of events. First is that Goldman was the first big bank that was able to recognize and profit from coming crash of subprime mortgage bonds. Second the fact of publicly translated Senate hearing of Goldman at 27 April, 2010 that obviously gave most of substance material including almost direct quotes used in movie.: “Blankfein on collateralized debt obligations (or CDOs): "At the end the day if they are too complicated and too risky…“ One can compare also time starting of movie shooting - June 21, 2010 with this Senate hearing – just two month later.
My main impression after Goldman Senate hearing was striking difference in caliber of men personalities in politics and finance. Folks of Goldman looked like genius students forced to hear lecture of old stupid, immoral professors of ethics. They obey order to be here but cannot resist having fan in expense of senators.
It is one of the most popular motives of literature - career and adventure of young able man from province coming to conquer capital of the world making friends and fighting enemies. D'Artagnan , Julius Caesar, Robin Hood, Napoleon, Rastignac, James Bond, Oppenheimer, Jack London, Gagarin and Armstrong are part of big list of such fascinating characters inspiring boys to live in full potential of their abilities on the edge of failure and death (that is good for test scores must I add for parents). What could to do D'Artagnan now? Fabricate birth certificate of Barak Obama and deliver it from Hawaii to DC in two sleepless nights? Or to murder harmless blogger who asking for fairness as he mistakenly think is right?
Every time produces own heroes. Solders in time of musketeers, scientists in atom bomb age and astronauts at cold war. Now days who are our role models? Movie “Margin call” gives the answer – wise boys and girls in big banks. They create illusion of economic progress, factitious products and problems these take occupied millions of office rats. Workforce in USA manufacturing sector is less than 10% compare with 17% in government now. People should be kept busy otherwise they start doubt about God plan for them be poor and neighbor in mansion to be worth it. Why?
Wall Street magicians in five years from 95 to 2000 tripled estimation for value of American business without creating two extra continents. From 2000 to 2005 they double value of every house. They did it just from thin air, by mathematical calculations and mass media systematic brainwashing of willing buyers. Then bubbles inflated and again people are busy in cleaning consequences and staying alive. All because there are plenty supermen in the world willing to move progress where it zigzagging before wandering in the next dead-end. Current generation of heroes will be laid off to ordinary population fertilizing soul for future legions.
Occupy Wall Street kids were born too late to participate in destruction of society as we knew it. Bankers from movie “Margin call” did it already in efforts to prolong existence of customer society without making unpopular decisions and having good time in a way. But music stopped already. Now unemployed kids with university debts come for their turn to spin a planet. They will bury house of paper cards finishing absurd and punishing themselves for fact of been born. I am sure that any park camper would prefer to play equity trading game as youngest character in the movie. It is so superior fate to be valedictorian legally blond compare homeless like protester without any clue how to feed billions victims of human nature that prevent rational family planning.
The irony of last tragedy of broken dreams is that nobody will feel for these mathematical geniuses. The same as they don’t care about ordinary normal church socialites.
Originally submitted at Oct. 30, 2011; 20:56
Nov. 16, 2017; 17:45 EST