It usually takes Hollywood awhile to start making movies about major geopolitical events. The perspective that comes with time is an essential component for any effective period piece.
Still, things have gone into overdrive when it comes to films depicting the financial crisis. The star-studded drama “Margin Call,” opening Friday, is the latest in a series of movies to confront the crisis, which began in 2007, and its ramifications.
Below — in case you can’t get enough daily talk of bailouts, the 99 percent and 9-9-9 tax plans — we offer our guide to the Great Recession at the movies.
Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Jeremy Irons and Stanley Tucci (among other notables) star in this effective dramatization of the goings-on inside an investment bank teetering on the edge of collapse during the fall of ’08. It’s a meat-and-potatoes ensemble piece with some flashy personality clashes and tense boardroom moments.
‘Too Big to Fail’
Andrew Ross Sorkin’s award-winning opus charting the collapse of Lehman Brothers made it to the small screen in this acclaimed HBO movie. Curtis Hanson’s film answers the crucial fantasy-casting question, offering a who’s who of top actors as the crisis’ major players. Among them: Paul Giamatti as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, William Hurt as Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and James Woods as Lehman CEO Dick Fuld.
Charles H. Ferguson’s Academy Award-winning documentary offers a painstaking chronicle of the ways rampant corruption within the financial industry spawned the Great Recession. Resisting innuendo and overt politicization, the film builds its case with rare, artful precision.
‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’
At first glance, this sequel seems like a desperate ploy by Oliver Stone to revive his flailing career by returning to Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas), one of his most enduring creations. That initial impression is mostly correct, though when it comes to reviving a titan of Wall Street greed and excess, there’s no time like the present.