When the economic collapse of 2008 struck, like most Americans I was completely in the dark on how it happened. Surely it wasn’t a mere overnight fluke that our country’s financial state had catastrophically plummeted? Well it wasn’t until I had the chance to see “Inside Job” that all of my questions were answered; I was now fully aware of how we fell into the crisis, and I was fully pissed off. Director Charles Ferguson (No End In Sight) delivers a thoroughly comprehensive documentary that exposes the faces and names that traded our nation’s financial well being for their personal lucrative gains, and how they are to date, still held unaccountable for their actions.
Narrated by Academy Award winner Matt Damon, the film attempts to explain each historical and political event that occurred in the United States that led up to the financial crisis. The story begins by covering the time-line of the earliest American finance systems up through the events of the Great Depression. We are then exposed to the story of the financial reforms that took place over the next 40 years, which led to the beginning of events, in which Ferguson argues, contributed to the disaster. “The progressive deregulation of the financial sector since the 1980s,” he says, “gave rise to an increasingly criminal industry.”
The evolution of the Wall Street Culture under the Reagan Administration is another focal point of the movie, arguing that the motivating ideology and laissez-fare government attitude gave traders the ability to turn a profit in risk-taking strategies with trading partners and society. This, coupled with the growing linkage between Washington and Wall Street positions, led to the creation of policies that allowed men to become very, very rich.
From the 80s we are introduced to the 90s, Clinton Era, where the passing of a law banning the regulation of derivatives was passed, fueling the growing capitalistic social divide. With the burst of the Internet Bubble, the financial scandals increased. In the 2000s, Bush era Tax cuts increased the wealth of top-ranking Wall Street elitists, whose pursuit of dangerous scheming and unethical strategies led directly to the economic crisis and the collapse of the housing market. The argument goes on to explain how, because of the entrenching power of Wall Street-ers in the government, the Obama Administration moved forward without holding anyone accountable, and instead rewarded corrupt company heads by getting bailed out with million-dollar bonuses.
The film includes many interviews with major financial insiders, politicians, and journalists, as well as the effected people whose lives were altered drastically from the countries of United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China. In one event we are exposed to homeowners whose faulty loans led to their evictions, which followed with the setting up of communalized refugee camps similar to Depression-era “Hoovervilles.” We also meet Kristin Davis, known as the “Madam” to countless investment bankers, who served 4 months on Riker’s Island for being convicted of prostitution. Through the diversity of those interviewed we are presented a very real and relatable account of an otherwise very complex issue.
To aid in the presentation of such a wholly encompassing subject are very informative, simple to understand, and slickly animated visuals. The narrative was very easy to follow along and with the addition of a savvy film soundtrack; it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Great fun is had with the montages of the elite financial players’ most luxurious expenses, including multiple private jets, expensive sports cars and yachts, and lavish mansions in the Hamptons.
“Inside Job” was so well researched and so comprehensive in its delivery that it serves to educate any audience goer who is eager to learn. The experience was informative, emotional, humorous, and overall shocking. It is the watch-dog movie of our time, a true must-see. You’ll walk out of this movie fully informed and mad as hell.