A great work of fact-based fiction - not a documentary
A lot of the negative reviews seem to be from people who expected this to be a documentary. it does not claim to be that. it is based on the lehman brothers collapse but does not attempt to analyze it or even explain it in much detail. in fact, it only covers about 36 hours of the meltdown. this film is a work of dramatic fiction that follows a group of people who are facing the realization that their current prosperity is based on a house of cards and is about to undergo a "correction" that will fundamentally change their lives. and the change will not come in weeks or months, but that very day. the point of the film is watching that group of people deal with the crisis on corporate and personal levels; often having to make some very unsavory choices. the film's high quality comes from the script, which moves forward inexorably as the scope of the disaster becomes clear, and the fine group of actors, who deliver some excellent performances. i would say there is only one false note in it: paul bettany teetering on edge; but i still consider his to be one of the standout performances. some reviewers complain that the film is boring. i have always been somewhat fascinated by wall street, so i cannot evaluate that claim. when i saw it on pay-per-view i thought it was riveting. in fact, when it was over i restarted it and watched it again. but there is very little technical detail in the movie. i think even people whose eyes glaze over at any mention of financial instruments will find this movie rewarding. in short, if you are looking for a documentary, you will be disapponted. likewise, if you are looking for car chases, fist-fights, or moralizing feel-good endings, this will not be your cup of tea. if you like good scripts and fine ensemble acting, check it out.