Margin Call (2011 102 min.) [BBC2 10.30pm]
Drama starring Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Irons. When risk management expert Eric Dale is laid off from a top investment bank, he passes information to junior analyst Peter Sullivan that indicates financial disaster is looming. The next 36 hours will prove crucial for the survival of the bank and the executives who run it.
The financial crash of 2008 (the bank at the heart of this story is a lightly disguised Lehman Brothers) is, at the same time, an obvious gift and a problem to film makers.
There's the attraction of impending doom, a race against time and huge amounts of money on the plus side but on the downside there's the esoteric and mysterious language of the investment banking world and the need to attempt to explain the very obtuse world which they inhabit without filling the screentime with yards of exposition.
Talented writer/director JC Chandor attempts to solve the problem by humanising the men at the centre of the story and adding personal dramas which mirror those of their professional world.
It's a very assured first big budget film for the director and the world he creates is believable - most of the action takes place at night lit by the dim flicker of computer monitors and subdued office lighting.
It's lacking a little in depth and seems to pull it's punches when it comes to the moral aspect of what the characters are doing ; however, it's an entertaining watch even if it's almost immediately forgettable afterwards.