There have only been a couple of documentaries on the current, worldwide financial crisis. Most notable was Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story. It was a — for Moore — decent and honest effort.
But no one saw it. The flick disappeared faster than your retirement fund, stock investments or both. So will Inside Job but at least this documentary made it to a Tri-Cities screen.
Inside Job is a story so big and so complicated that no documentary can cover it 100%. Writer/director Charles Ferguson gets close. Defining the familiar phrase “too big to fail” and giving meaning to derivatives, bundled mortgages and other financial maneuvers, Ferguson dives into the morass of banking and financial shenanigans that led to the Great Recession. The cast of characters features those engaging in behavior considered by many to be criminal. He also looks at politicians who cared more about their next election than evidence that their policies and a lack of regulatory enforcement in the financial sector was leading to disaster.
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Ferguson highlights slipshod oversight from regulators who seemed to turn their heads the other way, or took bribes and payoffs. Then there are the loose rules and regulations that left many uncertain about how to stop the train wreck once it started.
Narrated by Matt Damon, Ferguson’s version of events starts at the collapse of Iceland’s economy and ends with the ongoing collapse of ours. He finishes with the no-teeth, questionable economic reforms recently pushed by the Obama administration and Congress and then tells you why that happened..
Ferguson fearlessly takes on Republicans and Democrats. That includes — of course — President George W. Bush who was president during most of the meltdown. However, he also includes President Barack Obama and the current administration. More than once Ferguson wonders why the people that caused the problem are deeply involved in Obama’s effort to “fix” things, and still running the system and making critical economic decisions.
Academia also takes a hit as being less than honest.
Greedy executives that took millions in bonuses for running their firms into the ground are also skewed. Ferguson’s flaw is that he doesn’t dig deeply enough into corruption in Congress and every administration from President Reagan to Barack Obama.
Most of you aren’t that interested in finances, banking and investing. See this anyway. Take your middle school, high school and college-age kids. Take notes. This is a brilliant — and accurate — explanation of exactly what happened and what is happening still.
While the topic is far from simple, Ferguson has done his research and explains it in as close to layman’s terms as you’ll ever get. Oh — and take along some antacids. This film is going to piss you off.
Also, check out Mr. Movie’s interview with Charles Ferguson.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens Friday, Nov. 12 at the Carmike 12.
5 stars/4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars / 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars / 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars / 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.