Monday, November 15, 2010

Review - Inside Job

Charles Ferguson's hard-hitting documentary Inside Job will leave you feeling right pissed as you leave the theatre. And I mean that in the best possible way. It's a searing expose on how Wall Street greed and irresponsibility lead to the global economic crisis of 2008, which succeeds both as an enlightening lesson in the follies of the structure and the people governing our financial system as well as a witty and compelling piece of entertainment.
To argue that Inside Job is anything but dense would be false, as the amount of research that went into this film and the complexity of their findings are nothing short of staggering. But even more staggering is Ferguson's ability to refine, streamline, and present his investigation in a self-contained 100-minute format that someone with absolutely no knowledge of the financial industry (such as myself) can follow, and without oversimplifying or sacrificing the integrity of the information. His organization of the movie into five distinct chapters helps guide the audience through the purpose behind the thick explanations (of concepts like the derivative market, collateralized debt obligations, credit default swaps, and the securitization food chain) and what conclusions to draw from them.

His position is clear: The people responsible for deregulating the stock market, thus encouraging unwise high-risk investments that but billions of tax payers' dollars on the bubble while waltzing away with their own six-to-eight-figure incomes, must be held accountable. Of course, many of those at whom Ferguson points a finger declined to be interviewed for the film; probably the smartest move they've made in the last ten years, as he is an informed and tenacious interviewer who nails his subjects to the hot-seat and makes 'em sweat. He relishes in showing us the awkward silences and helpless stammers of interviewees who know they've just been asked a question that implicates their guilt.

A nod for Best Documentary had better be coming, and by all the buzz it's received since Cannes, I cant imagine that it won't get in. It could even win.

***1/2 out of ****

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