Unless you’re Rip Van Winkle and have been taking a nap for some time, only to awaken and exclaim – what economic crisis? – you’ve been made more than aware of the financial repercussions shaking up the US economy for the past few years. Whether in the countless movies that have seemed to created a brand new genre of recession cinema or the endless news reports, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out by now that we’re in serious trouble.
Which tends to render Inside Job, the latest entry into this batch of movies, a little like the last horse leaping over the finish line in Secretariat. So the question naturally arises, what if anything does Inside Job director Charles Ferguson bring to the table that’s a new and different, or even helpful revelation.
The answer is, not much really. And actually, the fact that Ferguson himself has been personally involved as a businessman in the financial sector, could shed an additional light on matters. But conversely may tend to leave him stuck in neutral in terms of subjectivity, in contrast to the angrier outsider investigative journalists among his fellow filmmakers in this particular domain.
And while Ferguson seems to have a firmer handle and broader analytical scope when scrutinizing the international situation and prophetically pinpointing signs of the pending crisis back then in reckless banker speculation over in Iceland, there may a tendency to shrug collective audience shoulders with a concurrent response. Something like, uh really.
Narrated by Matt Damon and moving around the world between trouble spots in the US and Great Britain to Singapore and China, Inside Job also probes the rise of academic yes men in universities across this country, who have been bought and paid for under the table by corporations to spread their favorable spin. And though there is no shortage or skimping on evidence and concise details contributing to the financial meltdown and the Inside Job that led to no jobs, a little less gotcha cinema and more consideration as to where do we go from here, would have been valuable, indeed essential.
Inside Job does provide one disturbing observation, that the current generation is the first one in US history that will have less education and income than their parents. But Ferguson’s conclusion that more government regulation is in order may be seen as really bad timing, what with the current administration stepping in to clean up the financial sector by handing the corporate suits billions in taxpayer dough to compensate them for their blunders. And this, while declaring just the other day that tending to the surging mass unemployment was not on the government recovery plan agenda.
And the only Tea Party documentary so far covering the same ground, Stephen K. Bannon’s Generation Zero, curiously presents similar evidence, but comes to just the opposite nostalgic pre-capitalist conclusion, that government should mind its own business and not the business of Wall Street. So with Ferguson’s call for a kind of honor system in big business that would theoretically shame the corporate baddies out of existence, we’re left with two equally quixotic points of view. Take your pick.
Sony Pictures Classics
2 [out of 4] stars