Monday, 14 March 2011

Inside Job

Last Sunday I’ve decided to take a break from working on my essays and catch a movie at a nearby cinema. To feel somewhat less guilty about it I picked Inside Job, a documentary about the causes and effects of the recent financial turmoil – that still counts as revising economics, right?

Here’s a little review I came up with.

The film starts with a short prologue describing the crisis in a nutshell on the example of Iceland. Next, we move to US where we’re greeted by a hypnotizing voice of Matt Demon who narrates throughout the rest of it.

The core of the movie comprises of a number of interviews with top players from the world of finance and extracts from politician’s TV appearances. It’s all divided into five chapters, focusing on different stage of economic downturn. Those go from the regulatory changes of 1980s and a resulting increase in the financial sector’s power, through the very tense weeks of autumn 2008, all the way to its immediate aftermath.

The director (Charles Ferguson) seems to be particularly concerned with close ties between Wall Street and not only the US government but also, quite interestingly, the entire discipline of economics. The latter is represented by lectures by Deans of top American universities like Harvard, Columbia Business School, Berkley or Brown University.

Inside Job isn’t exactly the most objective documentary I’ve seen. It seems quite determined to depict the employees of the financial sector as a bunch of greedy and self-egoistic hustlers whose sole goal is to make as much money as possible so they can spend it on more jets, mansions, drugs and prostitutes (there’s actually a bit on all four of those “expenses” in the film).
Nevertheless, I really liked that it wasn’t over-dramatic or shocking where it didn’t need to be – which unfortunately isn’t very common for films of that genre these days.

All in all, the film provides a good summary of the recent events and explains some terms from the glossary of crisis (like CDOs, credit default swaps, subprime mortgages etc.) in a fairly clear way. It’s also simply a good entertainment and gives you a chance to get to know a bit more about people like Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernake or Nouriel Roubinin.

So, if you want to see the film for yourself, it’s screened at Cameo at least twice a day, and now that it has won itself an Academy award for the best documentary, probably in all the other cinemas in the weeks to come.

Post written by Witold Gawlikowicz - 3rd year MA (Hons) Economics and Mathematics

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