Tuesday, 8 February 2011


Sony Pictures
Now Showing

Charles Ferguson's Oscar-nominated documentary (it's favoured to take out this year's award) successfully explains what brought about the Global Financial Crisis of late 2008. Not surprisingly, pure, unadulterated greed was the driving force.

Yes, derivatives, subprimes and other financial practises (which this reviewer confesses to know little about, despite being provided with a glossary ahead of the screening) were the mediums through which billions upon billions of dollars were lost to bottom rung investors but not the CEOs of any major companies involved; they still got their million dollar bonuses. But it was the sheer greed and arrogance of the so-called financial experts, on Wall Street and in Washington, who facilitated it.

Inside Job doesn't tell us what we didn't already know – that Wall Street is populated by greedy, soulless assholes – but then again, if it did, I may have missed it given my tendency to tune out during discussions of things financial. Not even the seriously-intentioned narration by Matt Damon could negate my natural antipathy for all things economics (Merrill Lynch? I loved her in Julie and Julia!).

Same, too, for the inclusion of an interview with a New York madam who informs us, rather redundantly, that Wall Street big shots enjoy hookers and cocaine. And so does Charlie Sheen, but that's not what's ruining the economy. Titillating, maybe. Informative, no.

The saddest, most sobering element of Inside Job is, that despite a change in US government following the global economic crisis, little has changed, either in Wall Street practises or those supposedly in charge. President Obama has seen fit to keep in positions of regulatory power those Bush-selected 'experts' who brought about – or turned a blind eye to – the crisis in the first place.

Greed is still good on Wall Street, and as long as big business controls governments, very little is going to change. And even as you guffaw at the hubris – and, often, out and out obliviousness – of these money men (those who dared agreed to be interviewed by Ferguson, that is), you'll feel your spirit waning and your faith in humanity dieing just a little.

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