As he introduced a review of the movie Margin Call about a group of corrupt characters on Wall Street, regular CBS movie reviewer David Edelstein held up a "Thanks" sign directed at Occupy Wall Street protesters as he declared that "I'm not here as a political pundit, so I can't speak to them directly," and then suggested that the protesters "deserve some R & R" and so should see the film.
No matter what you think of the Occupy Wall Street protesters - and I'm not here as a political pundit, so I can't talk to them directly - I hope you'll agree that they deserve some R & R, maybe even movie night. Have I got the movie: J.C. Chanders' terrific Wall Street nail biter Margin Call.
Near the end of the segment, during which he recounted that the film makes viewers feel sympathetic for the situation of the corrupt set of characters who are trying to use fraud to save their jobs, Edelstein concluded:
And seeing the world for a couple of hours through the eyes of Wall Street's minions will give those protesters a better idea of just how scary and how human what they're up against really is.
Below is a complete transcript of Edelstein's segment from the October 16 CBS Sunday Morning:
CHARLES OSGOOD: Wall Street is much in the news these days. Next weekend it's coming to the movies. David Edelstein has a preview.
DAVID EDELSTEIN: No matter what you think of the Occupy Wall Street protesters - and I'm not here as a political pundit, so I can't talk to them directly - I hope you'll agree that they deserve some R & R, maybe even movie night. Have I got the movie: J.C. Chanders' terrific Wall Street nail biter Margin Call. It suggests - and I'm quoting Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman - the so-called "masters of the universe" "got rich by peddling complex financial schemes that" helped "push us into a crisis whose after effects continue to blight the lives of tens of millions of their fellow citizens." Except Margin Call tells the story from their point of view and, in a weird way, makes you feel for them, makes you feel what it's like to have to choose between your own wealth and, you know, tens of millions of other people's 401Ks.
CLIP FROM MARGIN CALL: I need you guys to come back up here. Just trust me, okay, I need you guys back here now.
EDELSTEIN: In the film, we're not down on the street with the unshowered masses. We're way up in the offices of a mighty financial firm perched over the shoulder of a risk management underling played by Zachary Quinto who gets a file from his laid-off boss, played by Stanley Tuchi, and discovers-
CLIP FROM MARGIN CALL: Be careful.
EDELSTEIN: -well, he gets the same look as the guy in Deep Impact who realizes a giant comet is headed straight for Earth.
CLIP FROM MARGIN CALL: There are $8 trillion of paper around the world relying on that equation.
CLIP OF DEMI MOORE IN MARGIN CALL: You're wrong.
EDELSTEIN: The structure is like a disaster movie, but what spooks the execs is not that their assets are toxic but the prospect of everyone else finding out. And it's only natural for us to cheer for people trying to save the day, even if they're flim flam artists.
CLIP FROM MARGIN CALL: There are three ways to make a living in this business: Be first, be smarter or cheat.
EDELSTEIN: Explode that comet. Kevin Spacey's character begins as a complacent cut throat.
CLIP OF KEVIN SPACEY IN MARGIN CALL: Why do you think I've stuck around this place so long?
EDELSTEIN: But it turns out there's a line he's loath to cross.
CLIP OF SPACEY IN MARGIN CALL: You cannot be doing what you're thinking of doing.
EDELSTEIN: A fire sale of worthless assets to unsuspecting customers, many of whom will go bust.
CLIP FROM MARGIN CALL: Sell it all today.
CLIP OF SPACEY IN MARGIN CALL: You're selling something that you know has no value.
CLIP FROM MARGIN CALL: So that we may survive.
EDELSTEIN: But the head of the firm, played by Jeremy Irons, in Boris Karloff mode isn't moved by his reasoning. Spacey gives a major performance. And Quinto, Tuchi, Simon Baker and even Demi Moore are amazingly convincing. And seeing the world for a couple of hours through the eyes of Wall Street's minions will give those protesters a better idea of just how scary and how human what they're up against really is.