Write a paper responding to  the following prompts:

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For the final paper, discuss the actions of the main characters in the film. What were their motivations? Their options? How did their “world view” influence their decision-making? Do you agree with their choices or not, and why? Analyze their predicament and discuss the merits of their actions. Your paper must follow MLA format and 5 pages. 

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  • Sam Rogers, Investment Floor Head (Kevin Spacey)
  • Will Emerson, Head of Trading (Paul Bettany)
  • John Tuld, CEO and Chairman of the Board (Jeremy Irons)
  • Peter Sullivan, Senior Risk Analyst (Zachary Quinto)
  • Seth Bregman, Junior Risk Analyst (Penn Badgley)
  • Jared Cohen, Investment Division Head (Simon Baker)
  • Eric Dale, Former Head of Risk Management (Stanley Tucci)
  • Sarah Robertson, Chief Risk Management Officer (Demi Moore)
  • Ramesh Shah, Legal Counsel (Aasif Mandvi)


“…relentless in its honesty and shrewd in its insights and techniques… an extraordinary feat of filmmaking”
—A. O. Scott, New York Times

“Margin Call is one of the strongest American films of the year and easily the best Wall Street movie ever made.”
—David Denby, New Yorker

“… this confident, crisply made piece of work does an expert job of bringing us inside the inner sanctum of a top Wall Street investment bank…”
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Margin Call “takes place over a 36-hour period at a large Wall Street investment bank and highlights the initial stages of the financial crisis of 2007-2008… Although the film does not depict any real Wall Street firm, or similar corporate action during the 2008 financial crisis, Goldman Sachs similarly moved early to hedge and reduce its position in mortgage-backed securities, at the urging of two employees. Other firms like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns found themselves similarly and catastrophically over-leveraged in mortgage-backed securities. They scrambled, ultimately unsuccessfully, to manage the financial and public panic that ensued when their problems became apparent and the global financial markets plunged as a result.” (Margin Call (film))