If Only It Were Fiction…

It has all the makings of a good political thriller, and a tragic comedy, but unfortunately the characters and plot of Inside Job are all real. I think the largest challenge a filmmaker tackling an actual political scandal has, is parsing a great deal of information into a concise narrative that’s true to the story while entertaining at once. Take the Valerie Plame affair for instance, the film Fair Game has a lot of ground to cover and I can remeber having a hard time following all the developments in that story as it was happening at the time. You need to be a professional news watcher to pick up on all the twists, turns, escalations and falsehoods. But that story was neatly cut down to a digestable size. But that was the White House against Joe Wilson and his wife, try a global financial crisis – you need an ensemble cast and a mini-series of HBO proportions to cover that, right? Wrong. Charles Ferguson can cover all the bases in just over two hours, in a sleek and entertaining look at the biggest clusterfuck in financial history. As Dane Cook would say, it’s not a candy bar (full of peanuts and fuck). Unfortunately you have to use this language, because your blood does boil after watching this film. It’s essentially a tale of how wonton greed and corruption on Wall Street put the world into an economic tailspin not seen since the Great Depression. I’m no financial historian, but I do have an interest in the subject and I know that Niall Ferguson would argue in favour of financial innovation. After all it was and is “an indispensable factor in man’s advance from wretched subsistence to the giddy heights of material prosperity that so many people know today.” In the same article the author goes on to write that “Perhaps, too, it will be a financial crisis that signals the twilight of American global primacy.” One way or the other, this film will help you get a grip on what caused financial innovation to turn into the bum’s rush. The creators of this film spent a lot of time doing research for this film and the numbers presented are staggering. What would otherwise read or look like an unending heap of statistics becomes a concise narrative, showing where things went wrong, who was caught sleeping and why the system doesn’t work. Forget 3D, presenting statistics and a series specialists explaining in great detail how we, the taxpayers, got royally screwed over by a bunch of cocaine-snorting, prostitute-banging bunch of snake-oil salesmen in a throroughly entertaining manner is truly the greatest feat of modern cinema. Okay, so I tend toward hyperbole, but in all honesty it is truly praiseworthy, how this film tackles such a broad issue in a slick, panoramic fashion – with sweeping shots of the world, from Iceland to New York – peperred with interviews, and non-interviews. That is what is most frustrating: the fact that many of those responsible refused to appear on camera, and the few who did, should have elected for that route as well, for their own sake. No advocae of deregulation can stand for his opinion, and those asked as to their incentives get immediately agressive, like Columbia Dean of the Graduate School for Business, Glenn Hubbard. Even staunch supporters of Obama, like Matt Damon, agree that the guys and gals who got us in this mess, shouldn’t be the ones who get us out. There needs to be accountability, somebody has to pay. Watch it, and do something about it.

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  1. Jay

     /  March 16, 2011

    So frustrating…

  2. busyholandia

     /  April 7, 2011

    Your site is incredible, what theme are you using?


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