Film Review: Inside Job

Inside Job is the documentary blowing open the story of the 2008 financial and economic crash, naming names and pointing fingers. It won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary, and watching the film, you can sure see why. If ever there was a film deserving to win an Oscar, this was it.

Beautifully shot and edited, with a stunning and shocking script, the film does not fail to arouse a primal fury. Divided into four parts, the film tracks the financial industry from the 1970s and shows how it was set up to fail eventually, with layer after layer of bad decisions, with financial firms, stock traders and banks literally betting back and forth on the validity of stocks. Our entire financial system was a giant Ponzie scheme, a gambling parlor for the wealthy built from nothing and dangling over a void.

The other thing which the film makes clear (though is not its central point) is that there is an overclass made up of corporate executives, financial wizards, politicians, bankers, celebrities and intellectual thinkers in Academia who interweave with one another. To speak of one is to speak of them all. The bankers get jobs as corporation execs, the execs are high rollers on wall street, pal around with celebrities, run for office, get nominated to positions within the US administrations, and pay academics to write papers supporting their views. They’re all interconnected.

Honestly the thing that surprised me the most was the balanced way in which the film treated the origins of the problem. This was no partisan shill-job. The last several presidents, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama all get blamed in bi-partisan ways for creating a climate in which such problems developed. All of them encouraged the risky loans and did nothing to slow the insanity on wall street. In Obama’s case, he is strongly chided for promising reform and then appointing the same corporate retreads of the last administrations, and delivering nothing in the way of real change.

A shocking film.

Rating: **** out of *****

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