Today: February 26, 2024

Inside Job

The title of this film makes it sound like a mystery crime
thriller, and to a certain extent it is. However, the real mystery is
how the subject of the movie has got away with the crime for so long.
But this isn’t some Hollywood cop procedural, far from it. This is a
documentary about how the Wall Street elite killed the American economy,
and the subsequent global repercussions. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street
might have something to answer to with its “Greed is good” catchphrase,
but that was more of an effect than a cause of the out-of-proportion
salaries and bonuses. As it is often said: fact is stranger than
fiction.

As the rich keep getting richer, and the poor keep getting poorer,
and the governments continue to fail to regulate or reign in the banks,
there is a growing grassroots protest movement against these errant
financial institutions. The problem is, although most people know that banks
are making obscene amounts of money, and losing equal amounts that
sends them crying to the state for support, most people don’t really
understand what is going on
. It’s all mixed up with arcane jargon
and blame shifting that allows these massive financial corporations to
operate huge quasi-legal Ponzi schemes, not that dissimilar to the one
that saw Bernie Madoff put in jail for 150 years (more than most
murderers get). Inside Job by Charles Ferguson does a great job of
explaining all the Wall Street machinations in terms we laymen can
understand, with accompanying graphics. And if you ever wondered how
Iceland went bankrupt (the country not the supermarket) then the opening
sequence makes it very clear.

Unlike Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore, whose
approach to the subject was more anecdotal; Inside Job takes a more
prosaic approach. Unfortunately for Moore, the world’s largest grossing
(although some may say grossest) documentary maker renowned for his
stunts, the banks and Wall Street can see him coming and immediately
close ranks and block access. Ferguson, on the other hand, is an
academic with a Ph.D in political science from MIT, and has worked as a
consultant for blue-chip tech companies and the White House. The film is
also supported by Sony Pictures, part of Rupert Murdoch’s empire. This
is a man of intelligence and respectability, which means he was able to
get access to many of the major players on Wall Street, as well
as international politicians and economists. Most of them answered his
questions openly, but with a certain amount guarded trepidation. He may
not have the tenacity of Paxman, but he still elicited more info than
most people, and only one interviewee really lost his cool.

Narrated by Matt Damon, the film does a great job of
explaining what caused the crash of 2008, which saw Lehman Brothers and
other institutions collapse, while others got even fatter because of it.
What it doesn’t offer is a solution to the problem, or a panacea for
all the people who have lost their jobs and their homes because of the
reckless greed of a handful of men. While the film does contain a lot of
talking heads, it is well paced and never boring, and gives a
reasonably balanced view of the situation without doing the bankers any
favours.

If this is a subject that interests you then also look out for Client 9 (in
UK cinemas soon), a documentary about “the sheriff of Wall Street”
Eliot Spitzer, who is featured in this film. Also recommended are The Corporation and The Shock Doctrine,
both available on DVD and as books, which give interesting insights
into economics, the activities of megalithic businesses and their
relationships with governments. With films like these, who needs to watch horror movies?

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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