Directed by : Charles Ferguson
Written by : Chad Beck, Adam Bolt
Starring : Matt Damon (Narrator), William Ackman and Daniel Alpert
Ferguson who was responsible for the well regarded and Oscar nominated ‘No End In Sight’ about the U.S. occupation of Iraq, has here turned his forensic eye on the 2008 global financial meltdown. Because of his academic (MIT) and consultancy background (Apple, Intel) he has gained access to many high-ranking and heretofore interviewees.
Told in a straightforward but none the less compelling documentary style narrated with appropriate gravitas by Matt Damon, Ferguson interviews most of the major players, at least those with enough guts or hubris to put themselves forward. He begins in Iceland and charts that country’s own bizarre economic meltdown at the hands of the banks and sudden deregulation. Because this is a simplified and more easily grasped scale it prepares us for the more complex American situation but also shows us that this was a problem unfortunately replicated worldwide.
He explains how the American economy without a crisis for over 30 years began to change gradually from a regulated one to a deregulated one, first under the stewardship (?) of Reagan but then continuing through both Bushes and Clinton and their respective Federal Reserve Chairmen. With deregulation came rampant speculation by Wall Street using various financial instruments, derivatives, credit swaps, etc. This eventually resulted in the unsustainable situation where Banks were making billions by overselling mortgages and then selling these on, aided by unscrupulous Rating Agencies, and further speculating on their inevitable default.
Ferguson explains these otherwise complex financial transactions with clear and vivid graphics. The film is brilliantly shot in a widescreen format, switching between direct to camera interviews and telling newsreel footage or illustrative overhead shots of buildings and real estate.
The narration is succinct and the interviewer is only heard infrequently, usually to utter disbelief at what he is hearing, “are you serious”. Most of the interviewers need no prompting to hang themselves, either through their assured arrogance or their stuttering attempts at justification. Quite a few of the culprits who declined to be interviewed are damned by their non appearance and at each step their silence is highlighted on screen by Ferguson. While there are more villains than heroes, there are some individuals whose contributions here serve only to highlight that the financial meltdown was no accident but a deliberate fraud.
The Inside Job is must see movie that yes will infuriate most of us but more importantly it will educate us.
MoviesCrunch Rating – 9/10