Film: Inside Job
Cast includes: Matt Damon (narration)
Director/Writer: Charles Ferguson
Genre: Documentary/Disaster/Horror 2010
In brief: It’s a complicated story, but the filmmakers start out in Iceland to illustrate the principles at work in the US. In 2000, Iceland was a modern, global society in every way. When the three largest banks were privatized and deregulated, American ratings companies upped their ratings on these institutions to AAA. By the time these three banks were leveraged at 10 times the GDP of the whole country, it wouldn’t have taken much to upset this house of cards. And in the financial crisis that rocked the whole world, Iceland’s entire economy went belly-up.
Since the 1980s, the US has been systematically changing the rules of finance in order to make regulations more “pro business.” And since that time, we’ve had some financial hic-ups…each one more damaging than the previous one. In September 2008, we experienced the largest one-day stock market drop in history. The events of 2008 were so scary that it has finally become evident to everyone that the system needs an overhaul… or has it?
Inside Job takes us on a methodical journey of the global financial crisis… how we got there, the bubble, the crisis, accountability and where we are now. It talks about the outlandish conflicts of interest, massive private gains and public loss, charging patronage of high-priced prostitutes and other perks as business expenses… and the hubris that led financial insiders to believe they could create something out of nothing. Virtually no one emerges unscathed, as many of us would have guessed…some more scathed than others. The extent of the arrogance will leave you breathless.
Inside Job is a well-written and well-developed narrative, as exciting as fiction…although it’s painfully real. Even though we know many of the plot highlights, the telling is extremely compelling. The explanations are easy to understand… one has to wonder how all the smart people who were supposed to understand this stuff didn’t… and still don’t seem to. This is truly a horror movie. But unlike most horror movies, you’re not likely to feel any better when you emerge from the theater.
4 popped kernels
Compelling information, very well told
Primary Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Appeal: Any audience
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Tempo: Cruses comfortably
Visual Style: Unvarnished realism
Character Development: Not that kind of film
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Informative