Inside Job Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job" is strong, fair, and rational. The
director tries mightily to untangle the complex architecture of the
financial meltdown that has cost millions their jobs, their homes, and
their savings. If you consider skipping it because it sounds boring,
please think again. My blood is still boiling.Why does this documentary leave us sunk in despair? Because it confirms
the certainty that there is no one left we can trust. The fact that
much of what brought the economy to its knees was legal, not criminal,
signals a financial sector run by ethical nihilists who will pursue
every legal loophole to enrich themselves. Human nature, you say? Then
bring back the stringent regulation that gave the industry forty years
of reasonable corporate success before Reagan era deregulation. The
schoolyard bullies need supervision.America's bubble of private gain and public loss was pierced by the
collapse of Lehman Bros. and AIG. Banks merged into "too big to fail"
behemoths; safeguards were overturned; regulation of derivatives was
banned; This vacuum quickly filled with money laundering, defrauding of
customers, cooking the books, and stuffing of the pockets of top
officers with money. Larry Summers took 20 million as adviser to a
hedge fund. Lehman's CEO took 485 million, the CEO of the failing AIG
315 million. Fired by Merrill, CEO Stan O'Neal departed with a
severance bonus of 161 million.When Mortgages were bundled and sold to the bloated investment banks,
lenders no longer cared if they were repaid. Goldman, Lehman, and
Merrill were all players. Summers, Bernanke, and Geithner all stood
against corrective measures and would play pivotal roles in the Obama
administration.Absent limits on the impulsive risk takers, Wall Street plunged into
personal pleasure. There was never enough: penthouses on Park, private
jets (six for Lehman alone), vacation homes, art collections, drivers,
private elevators, drugs, alcohol, strip bars, and prostitution - one
private supplier within spitting distance of the stock exchange counted
10,000 men among her customers..Three ratings agencies made fortunes bestowing unwarranted ratings
right up to two days before Lehman failed, later testifying before
congress that these were merely "opinions", not guides for investors.
The crowning disgrace is the corruption of the universities. Business
school professors consult with companies. Glenn Hubbard, dean of
Columbia Business School, takes $250,000 as a board member of Met Life.
Larry Summers, back at Harvard, continues to rake in consulting and
lecture fees.The presidents of Harvard and Columbia refused comment. You will
appreciate the honesty of Raghuram Rajan who wrote strong warnings and
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who spoke with disgust of
the debacle. It used to be that respected academics could be counted on to be the
conscience of democracy. Now they are reduced to being interchangeable
components in the conflict of interest chain that links
business/government/university. Credit Charles Ferguson with a superb
investigation and give thanks that we still have a free investigative
press to wake the sleeping citizenry.
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221 out of 244 people found the following review useful:
131 reviews in total
Author: (firstname.lastname@example.org) from United States
7 November 2010
Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job" is strong, fair, and rational. The director tries mightily to untangle the complex architecture of the financial meltdown that has cost millions their jobs, their homes, and their savings. If you consider skipping it because it sounds boring, please think again. My blood is still boiling.Why does this documentary leave us sunk in despair? Because it confirms the certainty that there is no one left we can trust. The fact that much of what brought the economy to its knees was legal, not criminal, signals a financial sector run by ethical nihilists who will pursue every legal loophole to enrich themselves. Human nature, you say? Then bring back the stringent regulation that gave the industry forty years of reasonable corporate success before Reagan era deregulation. The schoolyard bullies need supervision.America's bubble of private gain and public loss was pierced by the collapse of Lehman Bros. and AIG. Banks merged into "too big to fail" behemoths; safeguards were overturned; regulation of derivatives was banned; This vacuum quickly filled with money laundering, defrauding of customers, cooking the books, and stuffing of the pockets of top officers with money. Larry Summers took 20 million as adviser to a hedge fund. Lehman's CEO took 485 million, the CEO of the failing AIG 315 million. Fired by Merrill, CEO Stan O'Neal departed with a severance bonus of 161 million.When Mortgages were bundled and sold to the bloated investment banks, lenders no longer cared if they were repaid. Goldman, Lehman, and Merrill were all players. Summers, Bernanke, and Geithner all stood against corrective measures and would play pivotal roles in the Obama administration.Absent limits on the impulsive risk takers, Wall Street plunged into personal pleasure. There was never enough: penthouses on Park, private jets (six for Lehman alone), vacation homes, art collections, drivers, private elevators, drugs, alcohol, strip bars, and prostitution - one private supplier within spitting distance of the stock exchange counted 10,000 men among her customers..Three ratings agencies made fortunes bestowing unwarranted ratings right up to two days before Lehman failed, later testifying before congress that these were merely "opinions", not guides for investors. The crowning disgrace is the corruption of the universities. Business school professors consult with companies. Glenn Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, takes $250,000 as a board member of Met Life. Larry Summers, back at Harvard, continues to rake in consulting and lecture fees.The presidents of Harvard and Columbia refused comment. You will appreciate the honesty of Raghuram Rajan who wrote strong warnings and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who spoke with disgust of the debacle.
It used to be that respected academics could be counted on to be the conscience of democracy. Now they are reduced to being interchangeable components in the conflict of interest chain that links business/government/university. Credit Charles Ferguson with a superb investigation and give thanks that we still have a free investigative press to wake the sleeping citizenry.
Author: mbanak from United States
21 October 2010
About 30 people at the 7PM show in the Music Box theater in Chicago last nite, and I was one of them.I am always looking for two things on this economic disaster: 1) A better understanding, and 2) a means of explaining it better to others. This film delivers in both counts.For me the key sequence came when the graphics, under solid narration, illustrated how 3rd tier investors were placing bets on bets. I.e., that's what derivatives are. I always knew this was happening, but the film made it very clear. That was the break point (in my analysis of the problem).The film was nearly void of political leanings, which made it an important contribution. The only part that bothered me is that Congressman Barney Frank was framed as an expert looking back with wisdom on the ill-conceived passage of the "Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000", and, behold! Barney Frank *voted* for it. It would be better to interview all 4 Congressmen who voted against it: Ron Paul, Nick Smith, Gene Taylor and Peter DeFazio. [2 from each Party! How's that for Bipartism opposition? It took me 10 minutes to confirm these names, and I'm not even making a movie.] It is significant that a continuum of hoodlums are seen on the podium with a continuum of Prsidents: Regan through Obama. The infestation of their ilk into the Political World is there for all to see.
Please see this film any way you can, and lock it in!
Inside Job is an enthralling documentary about how the reckless actions of Wall Street lead to the near collapse of the financial sector and subsequently the deepest recession since the 1930s. This is the second film by director Charles Ferguson, the first being No End in Sight an equally engaging indictment of the Bush Administration's handling of the occupation of Iraq. Ferguson focuses on the Wall Street culture and the blatant arrogance of a half dozen men as the main causes of the financial turmoil. Inside Job begins in Iceland where the deregulation of the financial system in the 1990s lead to three banks accumulating assets almost ten times the small country's gross domestic product.It becomes clear by the midpoint of the film that Iceland is a micro example of what has become a global problem. Runaway banks have been accumulating assets through toxic loans and other manoeuvres while paying themselves lavish bonuses. Inside Job is easily one of the most frustrating documentaries ever made. And that is undoubtedly Ferguson's intention. The film is critical of Wall Street executives, credit agencies and especially regulatory agencies for the crisis.Inside Job includes interviews from IMF head Dominique Strauss-Khan, congressmen Barney Frank, former New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer and many others. Ferguson traces the evolution of the banks from a small, largely local service to an out of control industry. He does not hold back criticizing every administration since Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.Ferguson argues that despite what most people think, there were many people warning of an impending crisis in global financial markets. Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Timothy Geithner ignored various signs of impending doom. Not to mention former treasury secretary and incidentally former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson.Inside Job makes the argument that the federal regulators are as responsible for the breakdown of the system as are the executives of Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns. More frustrating still is the revolving door between Wall Street and government agencies.As the banks became more deregulated, the more speculation became a problem. Derivatives, and credit default swaps, complicated trading schemes that most people do not understand is what caused the collapse of Lehman Brothers sending shockwaves through financial centres all over the world.Credit agencies like Moody's and Standard and Poor gave firms like Bear Stearns, Lehman brothers, and Morgan Stanley A grade credit ratings within weeks before they nearly collapsed. And also having one of their executives standing up in front of a congressional committee and telling congressmen that their ratings are just merely 'opinion'.It becomes clear that this is not a problem that emerged from the housing boom early in president George W. Bush's second term. Rather this was a systematic breakdown driven by a neoliberal ideology supported by Ivey league economic schools across the United States.Inside Job is simply a story of bankers more interested in collecting bonuses and making more money than providing what should be an essential service. What makes it even more frustrating is that many of the key figures behind the crisis are currently on Barak Obama's staff. The film leaves us with a bitter pill to swallow.As Ferguson notes, Wall Street has returned to normal with no federal prosecutions against any of the guilty. And one of the most poignant scenes in the film comes from Robert Gnaizda, the former head of the Greenlining Institute, a consumer lobbyist group who laughingly dismisses recent legislation to regulate banks with a simple 'Hah'.
Inside Job helps explain many of the complex terms such as derivatives and insurance backed securities that confuse those not immersed in the banking community. It is essential viewing for any citizen concerned about our broken system.177 out of 215 people found the following review useful:
Author: bagabaga77-1 from New Zealand
18 July 2010
This film portrayed a horrific set of circumstances in a measured and brilliantly illustrated manner. The economic issues were explained by clear, understandable graphs. Many major players appeared on camera to their detriment. The few that didn't appear were shown through press clips.The most awful scene to me was the footage of the tent city with unemployed, lost and bewildered American workers, their jobs lost directly because of the antics of the Wall Street monsters. It could easily happen here in Godzone.
Highly recommended.133 out of 144 people found the following review useful:
Author: Astralan from United States
2 March 2011
I work. I have worked since I was 16. I worked when going to college. I worked between college. I worked after college. I worked while raising a family. I worked, sometimes 3 or 4 jobs at a time. I'm still working. And after retirement, I don't think I would be able to quit doing something, even if it meant being a greeter at Wells Fargo. I put in my overtime. I put in my dues. I will not really have enough money to live on when I retire, but that is all relative to my lifestyle at that time. I certainly will not be able to afford the house, but I will have some foreseeable comforts. I may not have worked as hard as others, but I have worked dependably and consistently. My conscience is fairly clean.I have never been in a position to make vast amounts of money. Most of my life I have lived from paycheck to paycheck. I am not a financial planner. I can be an impulsive buyer at times but when I get that craving I make sure that whatever I get will last me. I'm probably the perfect Joe Schmoe.I watched this film. I don't know why. Maybe I was curious about it winning an Oscar. Maybe I'm just into masochistic tendencies, but I did watch it all the way through. I sat their like the wedding guests in the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner as he spun his story wondering how all this stuff could have happened over such a long period of time and realizing how gullible and uninformed I am. When it comes to Government, I am like an ostrich with its head in the ground: Just let me do my job, I don't want to worry about you doing yours.I don't think I am the only one with this sentiment. However, when one of us Joe Schmoes handed over billions of dollars to the people that engineered the collapse of so many financial institutions; to realize this has already happened; to realize there is nothing to be done just increases resentment.The documentary was skillfully done. The preface to this movie followed the decline of Iceland during their deregulation period. Within 5 short years they went from picture perfect to poverty, the only success stories probably laughed about over drinks and cigars. The movie then proceeds to tactfully follow the events from the Regan era deregulation to the panic of the collapse of insurance, banks and brokerage houses. It then moves on to the signing of the bailout then to the wake of their carnage in the world financial structure. The appalling fact of this is no one went to jail. To the contrary, they all walked off with billions.Matt Daemon does an excellent job of narrating the facts in a flat unsympathetic tone. The directors are quick to point out those individuals that did not let an interview happen, casting a higher level of doubt to their credibility. All in all, much was exposed and even if 30% of it is true, it is disappointing it ever got to this point.
Unlike Moore, seeing this was a serious piece I appreciated the fact the production
wasn't degraded by any comic relief. There was much to love and hate about this film. The production of it was crisp, clean and too the point following a well thought out introduction and ending, but you sure do end up hating capitalism by the time the ending credits start to roll.129 out of 142 people found the following review useful:
Author: Michael Fargo from San Francisco
29 November 2010
It was the last thing I wanted to see as the holiday Season sets off: A documentary explaining the World wide economic depression. But it was probably something I should have put before, say, "Burlesque." This is a serious film that has no particular political axe to grind in terms of "Republican" vs. "Democrat" since each successive administration beginning with Ronald Reagan is thrashed for bowing down to Wall Street rather than protecting American citizens from the most immoral graft and greed, that I can remember in my 60 years as a U.S. Citizen. While it's true that "deregulation" is the hue and cry of one particular political party, what occurs with investment and banking firms is so entwined with our national representatives, that it does no good whatsoever to point fingers at one party.The film opens with the simplest explanation of the impact of investment banking firms in the tiny country of Iceland. When investors move in and create a financial "bubble" for the sole purpose of letting it burst while taking off with enormous profits for themselves, the opening credits then start and introduce us to the players who would come to power with Reagan (Volker and Greenspan) and remove restrictions that had been put in place—we should all remember for good reason; regulations were set up because people had abused an open market—we see the rise and fall of the U.S. economy which became based on nothing but investment since all our "production" had been poorly managed and sent abroad, i.e. steel, automobiles, etc. What was left was goods and services and a tiny, though prosperous, "information technology." When Reagan gutted regulation and regulatory agencies, a system of credit developed where finance agencies sold risky loans to entities, and at the same time "bet" on those loans to fail, setting up a situation that the more risky the loan, the bigger the profit for lender. Various "talking heads" and bar graphs come across the screen, and they're all helpful in explaining what happened. But it's the deeply amoral points of view that get stated by people who were or are still in control of the financial banks and markets of this country that really appall.And we're left with a sense of outrage and not more than a little sense of futility because there's nowhere to go for either compensation or redress. At the end of the film "Fair Game" about another kind of government takeover, we're given a civic's speech about how the country belongs to the people and it's up to us to make it work. Here, in "Inside Job" there's nothing anyone can do. We elected a president who was sent to prevent the problem from happening again, but instead he appoints many of the same people who set up the situation and profited from the first round.I didn't find the small section of the film describing the "type A" personality of the players involved who use prostitutes and drugs to be either relevant or convincing. We see a former call girl allude to many in the financial world, but so what? There's a small dig at Elliot Spitzer, but he offers it himself. As well, we're given a psychiatrist who "can't reveal names" but can say for certain many in the financial industry are addicted to drugs and prostitutes, but so are many outside that world. It came across as a cheap shot in a film that brings forward many significant players (and names many who refused to appear in the film) and exposes them for what they are. They need no further tarnishing.I did see one area that could be addressed as a beginning of reform. Various economic professors who are brought from institutions of higher learning to "advise" the government and then return to their teaching jobs aren't—for baffling reasons—prohibited from making profit off the policies they recommend. That needs to be stopped. In most disciplines, university professors can't use their research and publications for personal gain. Those in the field of economics need the same kinds of restrictions. And students should demand it.
We should all demand a lot more than we're getting from our government, but I guess we hope we're going to be one of the few to reap those enormous profits (which is a real sucker's bet). It's baffling and infuriating to watch this film and walk out into the light of day where the practices on display are still going on.91 out of 116 people found the following review useful:
Author: bobbobwhite from san ramon ca
26 October 2010
Matt Daman narrates this Wall Street/Washington-bashing documentary on the economic meltdown and why it happened, with excellent fact-based analysis and easily understood graphics to illustrate same. The case was well made and indisputable by anyone of even modest intelligence, even Tea Party members. On second thought, maybe not them.Even though it didn't get the interview cooperation(duh)of many of the filthy rich top tier culprits who greatly helped cause the meltdown, it had enough interviews with second tier players making fools of themselves to effectively show how incredibly sold out some people can get when the chance for big dollars shows up, even high ranked educators and deans in some of our most prestigious colleges who willingly compromised their own schools' reputations for money. The film showed that they too are no better than mere puppets of filthy rich power mongers when shown the color of big money.
The indirect but overriding point made most well in this film is that filthy rich business people and crooked politicians are turning America into a society where greedy money power rules over anything and everyone no matter that terrible society-busting crimes are committed to do it, and that greedy riches are fast becoming the end-all and be-all for a growing number of unspeakably dishonest people, and that these sleazebags are uncaring about any fairness, decency, honesty, compassion, duty and honor that built this country into what it once was but no longer is. And, that Washington is a willing partner in all of it and that American citizens no longer have any legal protection or relief from their predatory ways that are leading this country into the abyss.195 out of 341 people found the following review useful:
Author: slythinker from Canada
12 September 2010
This movie is a good basic primer about the financial crisis of 2008 for those who haven't really been following this story and have little or no financial knowledge. The official description promises that if you get angry when you think about the crisis, you're going to get even angrier after you watch the movie. It delivers on that promise. Several of the interview scenes also deliver a few good laughs. The movie's main strength is the way it explores academia's contribution to the collapse. It exposes the conflict of interest of academics who are supposed to be independent, expert voices in the field but who derive the bulk of their very lucrative incomes from paid consulting engagements on behalf of the financial services industry. This is an angle I hadn't seen covered before.It also illustrates how little has changed in the American financial world, despite Obama's rhetoric. Rather than being held accountable for their role in the collapse, many of its architects remain in key positions of powerOn the downside, the movie oversimplifies the causes of the crisis. It focuses primarily on deregulation and Wall Street's incentive structure and culture of reckless risk-taking and lax morals and ethics. It also briefly mentions poor risk assessments by credit rating agencies and predatory lending, without really explaining what it was or getting into any depth on the matter.Sub-prime lending was mentioned only in a very cursory manner. There was no mention of the Clinton Administration's push for sub-prime lending to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income people.There was no mention of the Federal Reserve's contribution to the housing bubble as a result of it's policy to ease credit conditions in the early 2000s to soften the impact of the collapse of the dot com bubble and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.There was no mention of the shadow banking system; how it contributed to the crisis and how it greatly amplified the losses.There was no mention of David X. Li's Gaussian copula formula and how it was used by credit rating agencies to justify AAA ratings for collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that consisted of baskets of higher risk debt instruments.
I expected more from a full-length feature documentary. I've seen TV shows that delved into greater depth on this issue. This movie pushes the right emotional buttons but ultimately, it's light fare for those on a low-intellect diet.
Ferguson has used the ambush interview popularized by CBS' 60 Minutes to grill both the guilty and the extremely guilty in a way that commercial television will never do for fear of offending its sponsors. The Keiser Report on Russia Today is the only exception.The film starts with the collapse of the Icelandic banks, although the banking crisis began with Public Service Announcements on talk radio pushing loans for minorities. The banks -- many of them local -- feared congressional investigation coupled with potential charges of dreaded racism, so they arranged loan packages that enabled the marginally qualified to purchase houses. The local banks unloaded the mortgages as has become the norm in the industry. You can forget about such quaint notions as the Bailey Building and Loan anymore. This bubble began in 2006, but the Iceland saga was later in 2008.
YouTube has been showing a satire on the subprime crisis by John Bird and John Fortune that has aired since January 2008 which summarizes this film in 8 minutes. But, this film gets to the root of the problem by mercilessly grilling the shysters. Elliot Spitzer got air time, but even he caught the stinging end of the lash from the producer. Apparently, the vanity of of the players left most of them unprepared. The only drawback to Inside Job is the extensive face-time given to the smarmy George Soros -- the mastermind behind global financial speculation.68 out of 99 people found the following review useful:
Author: crappydoo from New Zealand
10 July 2010
Inside Job belongs to a genre of new documentaries, like The Cove, Dear Zachary and Bowling For Columbine, that are not only made to document the background of a phenomenon but also to encourage people to do something about it. Dividing itself into five sections of a 'report', the film looks at the background and effect of the recession and its effect on politics, the world, society, the economy, public welfare, education, the present and the near and distant future.Inside Job is undeniably motivational and does well to extract the hypocrisies and selfishness of the main perpetrators and other persons linked with the crisis. Indside Job depicts the global financial from only one perspective and does not give due weighting to the alternate point of view. Of course, it does not help that the main protagonists involved in the entire affair are obviously missing from this documentary, a fact that is rubbed on to the audience time and again.On the flip side, economics, being a head scratcher for several budding commerce students by nature, the spoken narrative of figures and key personnel could perhaps have been better explained with a clearer use of graphics. However since the film makers are not lecturers it would be too much to expect them to be aware of the concepts of pedagogy.
Well crafted and edited, Inside Job is a good introduction to the cause and effect of the financial crisis, it falls just short of being the definitive version. It is a good watch nevertheless and provides sufficient food for thought and plenty of opportunity for future cocktail party discussion.
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