Details: (PG), 108 mins, In Cinemas 17 February 2011, Australia, English
Synopsis: Narrated by Matt Damon, Inside Job is the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, Inside Job traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
Astonishing account of financial meltdown yields great returns.
If you used to have money, currently have money or hope to have money some day, drop what you're doing – including working to make money – and see Charles Ferguson's astonishingly pertinent documentary Inside Job.
At the doc's Cannes premiere Ferguson (speaking exquisite French) thanked the Festival for the invitation: "I'm very moved to be here – this is only my second film." The first one was No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq, his award-winning indictment of the quagmire in a country whose capital city is Baghdad.
Ferguson comes right out and says that the global financial meltdown of 2008, "was not an accident," and describes it as, "a completely avoidable crisis." This is a refreshing change from, "Uh, gee, how did that happen? Oh well, it's probably beyond the understanding of mere mortals, particularly the hard-working variety."
Twenty trillion – the amount of dollars believed lost in the tentacular debacle – is a really big number. No matter how many friends you have on Facebook, you will never get anywhere near 20 trillion.
That's a really big number, and yet the number of people who have gone to prison for facilitating this crisis is a really small number: Zero. You will leave the theatre in the mood to make a few citizen's arrests.
In this you may be joined, at least in spirit, by the good people of Iceland – all 300,000 of them. Unless, of course, by the time you read this, thousands more have been forced to leave in order to find work elsewhere. In the film's opening stretch, we are shown how a thriving, ecologically and humanly sound island nation was reduced to insolvency by ill-advised incompetence on a terrifying scale. 'All' it takes is a few banks 'run' by people who don't know what they're doing but who are convinced that what they're doing is probably fine because, well, so many other people are doing it.
Garden variety Hollywood movies usually have only one villain. This true story, alas, boasts dozens. Hiss at unrepentant talking heads! Boo at deregulation mavens who pocketed massive bonuses for having gutted banks, communities, cities, states and nations! Gasp at the sheer clueless chutzpah of decision makers and 'regulators' who saw nothing amiss! Grind your teeth at the sight of beastly vermin in suits who wouldn't change a thing if they had it all to do over again.
Cheer as Charles Morris, intrepid author of The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers and the Great Credit Crash takes the proper tone of outraged incredulity that sub-prime mortgages were allowed to proliferate.
Marvel at the forthright tone and tanned cleavage of Kristin Davis, who provided highly paid female company to high-flying investment bankers.
And rejoice at the fact that, thanks to the way Ferguson lays out the facts in pithy narration voiced by Matt Damon, you – yes you! – will be able to grasp what went wrong. In a memorable scene in his crusading doc Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore asked a whole bunch of people to explain financial hocus pocus like derivatives and credit default swaps. For some reason, interviewees stammered, backtracked, started over and essentially gave up.
Ferguson is really smart and is gracious enough to share his smarts with the average viewer. You'll be able to impress your friends with your newfound command of daunting abbreviations and acronyms used on Wall Street and beyond: ABS (Asset Backed Security), CDO (Collateralised Debt Obligation), CDS (Credit Default Swap). And you'll see why the so-called ‘financial services industry’ should be re-named the financial disservices industry in the wake of rabid deregulation.
The culprits are not only running free but are, for the most part, filthy rich.
If you have the price of a movie ticket, Inside Job is a terrific investment.
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