Margin Call

I just watched the film Margin Call, which is inspired by the events of the 2008 financial crisis. The movie has a particularly striking use of sound, which comes across as both subtle and, at times, obvious in its contrast. There is limited actual music throughout, with only a few select pieces of classical music of note alongside some sound design choices at peak moments. Its quite refreshing for a film; particularly currently with a desire to fill spaces with big drums, arpeggiated strings and synthetic whooshes; to take a different approach. Through a greater use of silence, the listener is drawn into the room, to what is being said or how long someone waits to respond to a question, thus expressing the emotion and tension more personally. This, makes the listener question the greater impact and after-effects, without the need for a bombastic soundscape to force the often desired hollywood feeling of ‘epicness’.

At 0:45 in the above clip, the delivery of the line followed by the delayed response provide all the feelings of doubt, concern and uncertainty. Furthermore, the subtle use of a clock tick underneath highlights the sense of urgency and ‘running out of time’.

Margin Call is currently available to watch on Netflix and I would highly recommend it, particularly for its auditory uniqueness.

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