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5 films about the financial crisis you can bank on
— "Margin Call" (2011): First-time writer-director J.C. Chandor recreates the earliest moments of the crisis with the tight time frame and claustrophobic setting of a play. He depicts this devastating moment of volatility with a patter reminiscent of David Mamet, specifically: profane and masculine, with rhythmic repetition of certain key phrases. Chandor knows this subject well but he also knows well enough to stand back and let the excellent cast of actors he's amassed — including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy irons, Zachary Quinto and Paul Bettany — do what they do best. He depicts these dramatic developments without any melodrama, but rather offers a steady drumbeat as one person after another comes to the chilling realization that we're all screwed.
— "Too Big to Fail" (2011): Curtis Hanson's made-for-HBO film, based on Andrew Ross Sorkin's book, plays sort of like a dramatized version of "Inside Job." Big-name stars portray the central figures in the financial crisis: William Hurt as Henry Paulson, Paul Giamatti as Ben Bernanke, James Woods and Richard Fuld, Bill Pullman as Jamie Dimon and Billy Crudup as Timothy Geithner. The stunt casting gets a little distracting but the scenery-chewing puts a dramatic (and sometimes humorous) spin on the potentially dry, alienating discussions that take place in board rooms and on cellphones between middle-aged white men in suits. And of course, there is an inescapable source of tension: This was real, and it happened, and to some extent it is still happening.
Think of any others? Share them with AP Movie Critic Christy Lemire through Twitter: http://twitter.com/christylemire .