Margin Call

Last night we watched Margin Call, a thriller whose script is a clever copy and paste of real events during our financial crisis. Because the plot elements have nearly all been publicized in the past few years, I found no suspension of belief required to completely engage.

There is however a problem with the movie. Despite the admirable attempts to make the plot comprehensible and educational while entertaining, the movie is still littered with barely explained acronyms (CDO, CDS, MBS), unexplained concepts like leveraging models, reserve requirements, and other financial jargon. We paused the movie several times as I was asked to explain. It’s a fun movie, but I’d first recommend that people first watch Inside Job and Wall Street.

For something quite educational, Bill Moyers has a great series of educational videos called Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer and Turned its Back on the Middle Class (On Winner-Take-All Politics, Crony Capitalism, How Big Banks are Rewriting the Rules of our Economy).