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Margin Call

The movie’s events begin by Sarah walking into the office and everyone is worried. Somehow, they all know what her presence represents. She is there to fire some people. If she shows up at your desk then it is your time to go. One of the people that find themselves on the chopping board is Eric Dale who is working on something important but Sarah does not care. She takes him to a small office and ruthlessly tells him the conditions of his leaving including packing out his office immediately. As if kicking him out, is not enough, she immediately switches his phone off. This same action of switching off his phone later costs the bank a lot of useful time as they try to trace Eric Dale.

She really has no options but flow with the events especially after Cohen makes it clear that he is not responsible for the crisis. She rarely takes initiative because she had the option of pushing the bank heads to look into Dale’s risk warnings but she merely passes them on as suggestions and they are never followed up. She is one of the people to blame for the crisis.

Eric Dale is the fired risk analyst boss. Before leaving the company, he tries his best to warn the bank and his last action which was giving Peter Sullivan his work helped the bank to some extent. He takes the risk to communicate with a bank that no longer needs his services. I agree with this action because it shows a committed worker. Later, he has the option of staying silent and receiving the severance package or speaking up and warning the rest of the country. He has too many bills to pay and chooses the silence option. I do not agree with this action because it costs the clueless stakeholders a lot of money and that is not loyalty nor respect to people that have helped the bank in the past. His worldview is making the family as comfortable as possible and it makes him a bad decision maker because he needs the money.Margin Call

Ramesh Shah might be the Legal Counsel but there is nothing legal with what he allows to happen under his nose. He is at the meeting with Cohen, Sarah, Will, Seth, Peter and Sam when the news of the company going under is broken. He listens to the options on the table but has no clear stand to advice the bank on what is legal or not. I do not agree with his stance and I think he would have been the voice of reason but he seems not to care enough. He is also to blame for the crisis that is about to unfold after the bank has sold its risky assets. His worldview shows lack of ethics in his job.Margin Call

Seth Bregman is has nothing outstanding about him which is bad for a young man who is entirely motivated by money. He keeps discussing what everyone at the bank is making and even takes his discussion to the club as he is entirely interested in what the waitresses and/or strippers make. His worldview is money first but the young man is inactive about making it or finding ways to make it. I do not agree with his actions because he is at all the right places at the right time and does nothing to get the superiors notice. Eventually, this costs him and he is likely to be fired in the end. He is so timid that even with knowing that he might be fired, as Will also hinted at it while they are in the car, he does nothing but cry in the toilet. He had the powerful option of playing his cards right and reserving his job because he had all the cards about what was happening but he did nothing.

Peter Sullivan is Seth’s peer. They do almost everything together because they are the juniors Risk Analysts. Peter, unlike Seth, is action oriented. Dale asks him to look at his work before he leaves and he does it. He had the option of ignoring the flash disk and go out with Seth but he stays behind and works. His actions are the reason the bank realised that it is in crisis and the reason for the whole movie. In a few hours’ time, he manages to catch the eye and ear of top management and uses this opportunity well. His superiors take his advice and find a way to save themselves. I agree with Peter’s actions because they show resilience, dedication and good decision making. His worldview might be doing the best you can at the position you are in and this saves the bank some debts. Peter’s decision making is also top notch as he manages to assemble Will, Seth and Sam during their off hours because he believes that there is a crisis that needs to be looked into.

Peter Sullivan is hugely motivated by money. Just like Seth, he discusses what the bosses are making, what the girls at the club are making and even wants to know what Will did with all the money he made last year. His motivation for money is also evident when in the meeting it is discovered that he is a rocket scientist. The boss asks him what he is doing on this side of the workforce and his response is that the money is better here. He had the option of lying or giving a flimsy reason but he speaks honestly. Unlike Seth, Peter seems to be productive and focussed about making his money by taking his opportunities seriously and shining. The merits of his actions are seen at the end of the movie when Sam Rogers is asked not only to retain him but also to promote him for his work.Margin Call

Will Emerson is an interesting character. I especially liked that he is people smart. He interacts with the juniors effortlessly, can still talk to Eric Dale who has just been fired, he talks with Sam Rogers and eventually also has his way with top management. This simple trick keeps him on the good side of everyone and he survives well. He is crazy as they come and his worldview seems to be like spend like crazy but he is also smart enough to save for a rainy day. Will is proactive and though he does not bring much to the table, he finds a way to remain relevant by being active in all situations he finds himself in which is good because it saves him. He has a good work ethic.

Sam Rogers is a conflicted man. At one point, he wants to do the right thing and expose the bank by quitting his job. He eventually does not do it and goes along with the bank as they waste their shareholders to save their own skin. I do not agree with his choices because he should have done what he believed to be best and not what he is convinced to do which is dispose off assets before anyone else does it. The end of the movie seems to be symbolism of his new life. His dog is dead and he is digging a hole to bury it. His ex-wife eventually switches off the lights and Sam continues to dig in darkness. This action symbolises his loss of morality, the hole he has dug himself into and the darkness in his life as he waits for the new chapter of his life.

Jared Cohen is a sly man and he easily separates himself from the blame of the crisis. He has all the bad characteristics, he uses people to do the dirty jobs, is not afraid of wasting other people to save himself and the bank, he is panicky, hates correction and is a good liar. His predicament is how to help the bank save some money and his merits are that he finds a way to do that but at the cost of the clueless people who are buying. His worldview is to throw other people into the fire and save self. It influences his decision making on how the stakeholders will be affected. His motivation is saving his own money.

John Tuld is also sly and ruthless. He is in the habit of threatening people into what he wants. He is ruthless when he works the juniors for a whole 24 hours and after they have helped him sell assets, he still orders that some should be fired. His worldview is retain the best employees and use and dump the rest which sees his decision to fire some of them even after they have done all the hard work for him. He retains Peter and even promotes him because he sees his future potential of using his services to recover when the storm is over. John has no respect for morality and does not care how his actions affect others.Margin Call


Works Cited

Chandor, J.C., director. Margin Call. Lionsgate, 2011.