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Greed is layed out on the table in this brilliant doc
on March 22, 2011
Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job" is like a documentarial "Usual Suspects". While the film by Bryan Singer highlighted the exploits of a team of professional criminals and a job gone horrifically wrong under the watchful eye of the mastermind Keyser Soze - Ferguson pulls the cover off the wrongdoings of a cabal of professional bankers and how their string pulling misdeeds and pursuit of personal riches resulted in a meltdown of the world financial system - echoes of which will be felt for years... maybe decades.
Winner of the Academy Award for best feature documentary of 2010, "Inside Job" opens with a brief expose of how Iceland was an early victim of the hype and and misunderstood potential of derivatives trading. It was a neat little teaser of a story (which has the potential of being a feature length documentary on it's own), that leads into the main target in Ferguson's scope: Wall Street bankers and their lust for profit.
Interviews with former employees of some of the institutional culprits are very enlightening. After particularly bombastic revelations in the film are made concerning some big players in the industry, a black screen with white type is displayed saying "Goldman Sachs" or "Alan Greenspan" or "The SEC" was "unavailable for comment for this film". The list of players who turned a blind eye in the interest of exorbitant personal gain is a known fact, but to hear their colleagues and the likes of George Soros interviewed giving the gritty details is a nice reinforcement.
A lot of great journalism has been produced surrounding the events addressed during the encapsulating footage of "Inside Job". Much as the documentary "The Smartest Guys in the Room" served the masses in explaining the Enron collapse, "Inside Job" with it's easy to understand charts and simplified language is the perfect film to embrace this subject. If you've kept a finger on the pulse of the mortgage crisis and the floundering of Lehman Brothers, AIG and Bear Stearns, you will find that this documentary presents a clear concise retelling of how it all went down. Ferguson's accusatory bit of film-making is a welcome addition to the canon. For those wanting to dive a bit deeper into the economic mechanisms behind this event, highly recommended reading would be "The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.