INSIDE JOB (2010) is an informative documentary that I had a hard time trying to digest straight away. Mostly because everything that happened to cause the global economic crisis of 2008 happened on purpose. Those of us who has lost our homes through foreclosure; loss of pension plans; loss of jobs–everything–was done on purpose. How does it make you feel to know that when you signed for a loan on a home or car that many of you simply knew could not afford–yet, you were approved for that car or home loan with the bank knowing that you could never pay that loan off, and that very same bank bet against you–and that loan you signed–and won.
Just how the financial crisis of 2008 occurred and what led up to it is the subject of this documentary. Released in early 2010, Inside Job writer/director/interviewer Charles Ferguson chronicles the devastating economic crisis beginning with the events that occurred in Iceland where the population was 320,000 strong, and a GDP of 13 billion in early 2000–the banks began a process of deregulation and bank privatizations; and in 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis, the banks calculated their losses at upward of 100 billion.
The people of Iceland lost their homes, their savings, their jobs, and the environment. The same misfortune soon arrived home, here in the United States.
Massive, private gains–at a public loss.
In viewing Inside Job for the third time–not due to misunderstanding any of the financial and economic terminology–but out of sheer disbelief of how the culture of deceptive practices was accepted as commonplace–business as usual. In the series of interviews with managers of hedge funds, Congressmen, Justice Department officials, Harvard Economics professors–even with a “Madam” who catered to Wall Street Executives, it was easily discernible the “context” of the conversation. The magnitude of greed exposed–how Goldman Sachs bet against the financial products they sold to their clients, and just how they made money, a lot of cash doing so.
Fergerson tactically questioned and was able to acquire some damn near specifics on just how these men and women whom we put nearly all our trust cleverly ripped the rug from under us. The events were detailed historically beginning with the depression era of finance. Where safeguards were put in place so that the country would never again experience the Great Depression of the 1930s. As the documentary progressed, I learned just how those protections were strategically annulled through protective legislation.
Deregulation of Wall Street practices, the savings and loan industry, loses its oversight–insider trading, etc., all lead up to the slow bleed of investment value (the housing bubble, etc.), and the eventual taxpayer bailout of the banks and individuals that caused the entire 2008 recession. These same people and financial institutions have yet to answer for their roles in the crisis. To this day, no one has been prosecuted.
Ferguson even takes viewers into the psyche of the Wall Street “minds” of those who unremittingly used high-stakes behavior akin to the likes of cocaine addicts (which many from Wall Street indulged in and prostitution)–sheer greed in all their pursuits, often at the taxpayers expense. To include that some of the fraudulent financial reports written by academics from Harvard, Yale, and Columbia Universities which legitimized the unethical practices (i.e. Wall Street) that eventually bankrupted the economy–played a part in the eventual taxpayer bailout!
My critique: There is a ton of information that Ferguson presents throughout the film, however, much of the information was mentioned on a superficial level. So I wound up feeling half-informed. It may be due to film editing–but I believe that if given more time–he would be able to disclose so much more about the economic crisis and more detail of it’s socioeconomic impact that affects us all still to this day. There is so much more there to reveal that portions of the interviews left me feeling extremely annoyed due to the lack of information. I do commend Ferguson for taking a non-political approach to the documentary.
Also, many of the CEOs and officials interviewed answered many of the questions not only carefully, but superficially. You just could not get a straight answer from any of them, as to be expected. The narration by Matt Damon gave the documentary a truly melodramatic appeal–as if Damon’s voice softened the harsh blow of information disclosed during the documentary and at times, felt as if he ‘broke’ the tension that was blatantly obvious to the interviewer and interviewee.
Inside Job is a must-see documentary. It uncovers a disturbing sociopathy of power and influence. I warn you that the film will enrage and disappoint–mostly because more isn’t done to bring these individuals that caused the economic collapse of justice.