- 1 hr 49 min
The film follows several employees at a prominent trading firm. Junior risk analyst Seth Bregman (Penn Badgley) and his colleague Peter Sullivan (Zachary Quinto) watch as the company brings in a temporary human resources team to conduct mass layoffs. One of the first to go is their boss, Eric Dale (Stanley Tucci). During Dale’s release, he tries to tell the HR team of something that he has been working on that has very crucial implications for the firm, but they are only interested in getting him out of the building. While he is being escorted out he hands Peter a USB drive and warns him to be careful. That night Peter and Seth open up Dale’s project and discover why their former boss had cautioned him. The firm’s mortgaged backed securities are on the verge of exceeding historical volatility levels, and the company is in grave danger of realizing a loss much greater than its market capitalization. Peter notifies upper management and Will Emerson (Paul Bettany) contacts Sam Rogers (Kevin Spacey), even though the hour is late. As senior executives start arriving at the building, including division head Jared Cohen (Simon Baker), Chief Risk Management Officer Sarah Robertson (Demi Moore), and then CEO John Tuld (Jeremy Irons) it becomes clear to the rest of the group that not everyone was unaware that this scenario could happen. Meanwhile Rogers is hunting for Dale, and eventually he is found and lured back to the building with the promise of a payoff and security of his severance package. Cohen suggests that they sell off the assets before the market becomes aware. While Rogers tries to argue the unethical decision, the CEO pushes forward, even offering huge commissions to employees who sell off the stocks. Internally, it becomes a play for power when several key members realize that someone must take the fall for the plot, which will destroy careers forever.