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Margin Call Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 107 Mins
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray )
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • Blu-ray Release Date: December 20th, 2011
  • List Price: $29.99

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Margin Call - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dts

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

An intriguing Wall Street thriller based on the real American financial crisis of just a few years ago that led to the now controversial bailouts, Margin Call features an all-star cast and wonderfully directed and written screenplay by J.C. Chandor, stepping behind the camera for his feature debut. A film incredibly apposite for the times, considering the nation is still struggling to claw its way out of “the great recession,” this realistic look into the unraveling of an investment firm over the course of 24-hours is both heartening and appalling.

Margin Call begins as an investment firm is culling its staff as the rest of the surviving employees look on callously, all but celebratory that they are “still alive.” One employee who has been laid off, Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci) slips a USB drive to one of his staff as he is being led out of the building by a security guard warning him to “be careful.” The young Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) is only all too curious by this statement and puts the drive in at the end of the workday only to find a program Dale has been working on, but was unable to complete. When Peter completes the calculations, it spells doom for the firm. They have been blowing past their margins and can be left holding worthless assets that number far more than the value of the company.

Of course this causes a panic and all the big shots are called in immediately, including company head John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) and his underling Jared Cohen (Simon Baker). Meanwhile, a mad rush to find Dale and bring him back in is on, especially when Tuld determines to do the unthinkable – dump their worthless holdings on the market and stop all purchases before anyone else figures out what’s happening, thereby destroying the market and ruining millions of ordinary people’s finances. They need to get Dale on board to keep his mouth shut. Only one person objects to this ruthless plan, it’s lifelong company man Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), but he knows he’s powerless to stop it and that he and everyone else will be out the door without a job by the end of the next day anyway.

Margin Call is an evenly paced, more than interesting look into the high-powered world of greed. It is a clever morality play about how the love of money can make people do the worst possible things to one another. It makes the Wall Street sequel look like complete rubbish in comparison.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The bulk of Margin Call was shot in HD at 4.5K resolution using the RED ONE MX camera with Zeiss Standard Speed and Angenieux Optimo Lenses while some aerial shots also used 35mm film (Kodak Vision3 500T 5219). While this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer to Blu-ray looks generally clean and detailed with strong clarity, as one might expect, the overall image looks just a bit off to me. The issue at hand is a gamma setting that is a bit too high, making blacks look somewhat flat and washed out and overall contrast somewhat narrow. Still, there is very little video noise and no presence of compression artifacts or post-processing misdeeds to worry about.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

In this DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack the sound is at times engaging with a good bit of atmospherics that captures the chatter of the office in the surrounds, but mostly it’s a dull mix and front-heavy. Of course this is owing to the material, since most of the film takes place in a mostly empty office in the middle of the night. While dialogue is intelligible and natural sounding, I did hear just a little bit of clipping once in a while.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

There are a few run of the mill extras provided on Margin Call including a very promotional-feeling “making of,” and the obligatory audio commentary track, but nothing here is absolutely mandatory.

The supplements:

  • Director & Producer Feature Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes with optional audio commentary:
    • Inside Tips
    • Strike Quick
  • Revolving Door: Making Margin Call (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:05:58) – A brief look at the making of the film with cast and filmmaker interviews.
  • Missed Calls: Moments with Cast & Crew (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:01:06) – Behind the scenes bloopers.
  • From the Deck: Photo Gallery (1080i)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Margin Call is a remarkable dramatization of Wall St. run amok and the devastating financial crisis that led to a seemingly impossible to overcome recession. With superb casting, intelligent direction, and a solid Blu-ray release, this just may be the perfect antidote to this season of crass commercialism.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B005FITIIC[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Margin Call - Widescreen Subtitle AC3 Dts

Purchase Margin Call on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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