I can only imagine that Inside Job, which won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary, is not popular among the Wall Street and Washington DC set. The film makes them all look incredibly bad.
Charles Ferguson, who also directed No End in Sight, takes a slow, deliberate approach to explaining reforms made after the Crash of 1929, deregulation in the 1980′s and 1990′s, the housing bubble, the rise of financial derivatives, the events of the financial crisis, and the government’s response (such as TARP). Although narrated by Matt Damon, a great deal of the film is based on interviews with people from across the political spectrum, including economists, government officials, world leaders, regulators, politicians, lobbyists, bankers, and journalists. Ferguson is pretty tough in his interviews and does prompt several moments where “I’m not answering that” or “this interview is over” are exclaimed. I’m surprised that some of them ever agreed to be interviewed for the film.
Although this film is very compelling, it’s a downer. But Ferguson is good at engaging the viewers’ emotions. You will get mad. You will want to make a genuine, impassioned speech resembling something like Howard Beale’s in Network.
For a great audio overview of the financial crisis, check out This American Life–Your Guide to the Meltdown. We also have a selection of books on the subject if you want to learn more and explore different sides of the issues.