I've seen so many documentaries and news programs about the current financial crisis and the collapse of our economy that I'm starting to feel like an expert and analyst. With all the coverage available, it is becoming increasingly difficult to put a new spin on things or offer up content that feels fresh. David Sington's "The Flaw" takes these familiar concepts and weaves an interesting look at the history that preceded that fateful event. I'm wary to call a serious documentary entertaining, but Sington does a nice job putting together an economic portrait that combines facts, trends, and personal accounts in a way that will really engage even the casual viewer. Let's be honest, there is only so much that can be covered efficiently in an 82 minute film. If anything, the movie attempts too many angles to go into much depth. But what it does provide is a lively look at how capitalism has changed within the last thirty years (compared to the rest of our history) and how our entire consumer structure was based on a fallacy. And once things went south, they did so at an alarming rate!
"The Flaw" provides the usual financial sources, of course, giving commentary about the events that led to the collapse. But in addition to stock interviews, the film utilizes other visual elements quite effectively. Graphs are employed to show historical trends (this was perhaps my favorite tool) and archival TV footage and animation add punch to the presentation. We also spend time with personal stories, most notably a former Wall Street Bond Trader now giving guided street tours to those visiting the financial district of New York. Another major component to the film is footage of Alan Greenspan as he testified before Congress in 2008. While the movie juxtaposes all these threads well, remember this is more of a lay-person introduction to the topic that seeks to combine facts with flesh and blood. As such, it works quite well.
With the evolution of the real estate market, the credit bubble, and the redistribution of wealth, it seemed inevitable (in retrospect) that we were in for hard times. The movie doesn't offer much in the way of answers for the future, and paints a portrait of a system that is pretty well broken. But this historical financial analysis ably points out where we went wrong. Let's just hope we've learned something from our mistakes. "The Flaw" is engaging, smart, and breaks key concepts down into easily understandable components. KGHarris, 3/12