When Eliot Spitzer is the first visible guest in the film trailer stating: “The regulators, they had the power to do every case that I made when I was State Attorney General. They just didn’t want to”, you have a feeling that Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job is going to be a powerful work. And it is, for as that trailer points out, the 2008 financial meltdown was avoidable.
Along with being powerful Inside Job is also complex so maybe the best way to preface this review is to quote Roger Ebert who noted that the film is about “How the financial industry set out to defraud the Ordinary American investor”, quoting the veteran film critic because this writer got outraged while watching and reviewing what is the definitive (yet unofficial) sequel to Michael Moore’s 2004 documentary epic Fahrenheit 9/11. Many films have tried to come close to Moore’s knock-out punch and for my money this work succeeds.
You’ll see clips from CSpan-3’s broadcast of the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations asking point blank: “What do you think about selling securities which your own people think are crap, does that bother you? The industry tycoon answers, somewhat smugly, “As a hypothetical” – only to hear from the oversight: “No, this is real.”.
The trailer hits with all guns a blazing: “They were having massive private gains…at public loss”, “Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers…they knew what was happnening…”
In an interview conducted on October 11 the director was asked if the title was a cross between 2003’s The Italian Job and Spike Lee’s 2006 epic Inside Man…his response was that Inside Job IS about a heist!
As Frontline’s Inside the Meltdown is airing on TV the release of this film at the same moment time isn’t serendipity…it’s essential. And with Michael Douglas reprising his Gordon Gekko role in Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, the timing is almost perfect for Ferguson’s film…almost, because had it come out in advance it might have been a wake-up call…as it is now, will the public take this huge red flag as a warning and change course? One can only hope…
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com who has recently interviewed directors Neil Marshall (Centurion), Michael Moore, Charles H. Ferguson (Inside Job), David Koepp and many others.. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio.