Greetings again from the darkness. What documentary director Charles Ferguson and writers Chad Beck and Adam Bolt deliver is an emotional expose’ into the faces behind the financial crisis and a quick education on the basic causes. This is not an in-depth thesis put together by a Harvard economist … though as we learn, there may not be as much value in that as we once assumed! My emotions ranged from sadness to anger to disgust. There are even moments of laughter as these blatantly arrogant types weakly attempt to defend themselves – at least those courageous enough to submit to an interview.
The point the filmmakers clearly set out to prove is that the mess was a collaboration of politicians (including Presidents), Ratings Agencies, Investment Managers, leaders of Banking giants, the Federal Reserve, the Boards of Directors from Financial Services conglomerates and once sacred Academic leaders. The film asks the question: “Who can we trust?”. The answer is, unfortunately, NO ONE. What we can do is learn, demand changes and hold accountable those responsible.
The film gives a brief outline of derivatives, CDO’s, the mortgage mess, and how the Ratings agencies’ “opinions” led directly to the demise of many jobs, nest eggs, and long-standing companies. The other thing it clearly shows is how these Financial giants profited GREATLY from the failure of many individual investors. In fact, they purposefully withheld information and misled the general public into making investment decisions that knowingly stood no chance at success for anyone but the Investment firms.
Since distrust of politicians and corporate types has been rampant for years, I believe one of the most disappointing revelations was the pulling back of the curtain on the Academic world. Those thought to be unbiased analysts and commentators have been exposed to be highly paid consultants for the very people manipulating the markets. Ouch.
It is important to note that no President goes untouched here – from Reagan forward. If you believe Obama to be above this mess, you would be mistaken. Much of his official financial advisory group is composed of the very same players responsible for the deceit these past few years. Think things are going to change? The film states we are living with a “Wall Street Government”. Those in charge clearly bring truth to the words “Greed is good”. They have no sense of right and wrong. They give no consideration to making the world a better place. What matters is how much better can they make their own life. The segment on Lehman executive Richard Fuld summed it up best. His day was planned so that he only had 3 to 4 seconds exposure to real people … his daily steps from his limo to a programmed elevator whisking him away to his private world. I dare you to see this and not be outraged.
SEE THIS MOVIE IF: you would like a crash course on the crash
SKIP THIS MOVIE IF: you subscribe to the notion that “ignorance is bliss”