| Director Charles Ferguson’s sophomore effort following the masterful “No End in Sight” is a scathing indictment of the U.S. financial system that is responsible for people losing their jobs, homes and retirement plans in the worst recession since the Great Depression.
This is the most important film of the year and the clear frontrunner to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
The movie, narrated by Matt Damon, has an impressive array of interviewees. They include financial insiders, politicians, journalists and academicians.
The movie is meticulously organized and divided into five parts. It tackles complicated subjects and explains them in a way the average laymen can understand. This economics lesson shows how greedy investment bankers on Wall Street played around with other people’s money and became rich.
The high-profile individuals shown in archival footage who refused to be interviewed – Lawrence H. Summers, Alan Greenspan, Henry M. Paulson Jr., Robert E. Rubin, Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke – appear to have the most to hide from the public. The movie seems to imply they should be rounded up and placed on a list to testify during a full-scale congressional investigation.
Deregulation in the banking industry, a series of corporate mergers, innovative financial products, deceiving credit ratings of junk securities and insufficient liquidity with leverage ratios of 33 to 1 in borrowed money were all key components in the financial meltdown. It is almost comical how the American public was hoodwinked and ultimately ripped off. The tragically sad part is that the wrongdoers have not been rounded up and criminally prosecuted for fraud. It has cost taxpayers over $700 billion to bail out the financial industry while there has been no recovery of the excessive compensation paid out to the top executives.
Unfortunately, the people who caused all the trouble are still in power. The status quo remains intact as the economic advisers in the Obama administration are the same people who built the underlying structure.
This movie calls for a grassroots movement advocating change and stricter controls so history can’t be repeated.
This terrific film is fascinating to watch. Ferguson’s perceptive questions make mincemeat out of those interviewed and make them look ridiculous. He brings home the point of full disclosure never being made to investors of potential conflicts in interest. Besides the charts and graphs, the movie aptly throws into the mix popular tunes including “Takin’ Care of Business” and the foreboding closing song ”Dead in the Water.”
This 108-minute movie will make audiences smarter and elicit angry reactions. Veteran PBS journalist Bill Moyers offers the best endorsement: “To see just how our system was rigged by the financial, political and university elites, run, don’t walk, to a showing of this film. Take a handkerchief because you’ll weep for the republic.”
This brilliant film exposing the shocking truth is now playing for a limited engagement at AMC Studio 30, the Glenwood Arts, the Glenwood at Red Bridge and the Tivoli in Westport.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"