Inside Job (a J!-ENT DVD Review)
February 27, 2011 by Dennis Amith
A documentary that will open your eyes. A documentary that must be seen. Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job” is a shockingly, powerful documentary that reveals what may have caused the global financial meltdown and giving us the facts of what led to the economic crisis of 2008. Prepare to be angry, infuriated but yet entertained by this real life heist film.
© 2010 Sony Pictures Classics Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DVD TITLE: Inside Job
DURATION: 109 Minutes
DVD INFORMATION: 2:35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: PG-13 (Some Drug and Sex Related Material)
RELEASE DATE: March 8, 2011
Directed by Charles Ferguson
Written by Chad Beck, Adam Bolt
Produced by Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs
Executive Producer: Jeffrey Lurie, Christina Weiss Lurie
Associate Producer: Kalyanee Mam, Anna Moot-Levin
Music by Alex Heffes
Cinematograhy by Svetlana Cvetko, Kalyanee Mam
Edited by Chad Beck, Adam Bolt
Set Decoration by Mariko Marrs
Narrated by Matt Damon
From Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (NO END IN SIGHT), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
In 2007, writer and director Charles H. Ferguson shocked and intrigued many people with his documentary “No End in Sight” which focused on the Bush administrations conduct during the Iraq war. Ferguson followed up by being one of the executive producers of “Between Earth and Sky” in 2009. But in 2010, Ferguson would release his most shocking and powerful documentary yet, titled “Inside Job” which chronicles the global financial meltdown and the economic crisis of 2008. The documentary would win an Academy Award for “Best Documentary Feature” in 2011.
Featuring narration by actor Matt Damon, “Inside Job” begins with showcasing the financial meltdown of Iceland and how a country that was once doing so well with no debt and was a great example of country that was financially responsible, became a country that financially collapsed with the country’s three major commercial banks suffering from a downfall when billions of dollars were borrowed and loaned to businesses and businessmen who took advantage of the loans to finance their own personal non-business endeavors and left the country close to national bankrupty.
When one was interviewed about the problems, he asks that this could not happen in the United States right?
Well, unfortunately millions of Americans have been affected by the economic downturn and in 2008, this would spiral downward as millions of Americans would foreclose their homes, lose their jobs, many would be living off food stamps while in Wall Sreet, Bear Stearns, known to be aggressive in packaging and selling mortgage-backed securites and hedge funds loaded with junks collapsed and were bought by JPMorgan Chase. Meanwhile, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, because they were owned by the government, were not required to report their finances like public corporations and both companies hid their problems which involve serious accounting fraud and overstatement of their earnings.
Lehman Brothers, one of the most prestigious companies on Wall Street filed for bankruptcy protection and put thousands of people around the world out of work, while Merrill Lynch, the powerful investment banking and brokerage firm would also fall hard and would be bought by Bank of America.
The question is how did the economy go so far down south that even today, millions of Americans are not sure about their future especially in today’s economic recession. Why did these individuals who committed severe financial fraud were never given prison time? And why hasn’t anyone been held accountable for the financial crisis?
But director Charles Ferguson would seek for the answer with his documentary “Inside Job” which features thorough research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists. The documentary traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships. Interviews include Paul Volcker (Chairman of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board), George Soros (Founder and Chair of Open Society Institute/Soros Foundation), Eliot Spitzer (Former Governor of New York and New York State Attorney General), Barney Frank (Democratic Representative for Massachusetts) and many others.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“Inside Job” is presented in 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen and is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital. It’s important to note that if you want the best video and audio presentation of this film, “Inside Job” is also available on Blu-ray. But for the DVD release, picture quality was very good and the soundtrack is front and center channel driven. Dialogue is clear, footage combines recent to archived older news footage but for the most part, picture quality and audio quality is good.
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“Inside Job” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Charles Ferguson and producer Audrey Marrs.
- The Making of Inside Job – (12:32) Starz Studios behind-the-scenes of “Inside Job”. Director Charles Ferguson talks about how he was warned about the crisis well before it was publicly known. Ferguson talks about the research process for the film and the amount of research that was done for this film.
- Deleted Scenes – Featuring nine deleted scenes with Charles Morris, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Eliot Spitzer, Gillian Tett, Jerome Fons, Lee Hsien Loong, Satyajit Das, Simon Johnson and Yves Smith.
- Theatrical Trailer – (2:20) The original theatrical trailer for “Inside Job”.
A documentary that will open your eyes. A documentary that must be seen. Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job” is a shockingly, powerful documentary that reveals what may have caused the global financial meltdown and giving us the facts of what led to the economic crisis of 2008.
Unfortunately, this is one of the great crime stories in American history and we are currently living it. This is not a documentary of the past and the events that occurred back in 2008 still rears its ugly head in 2011 where millions of Americans are jobless and in financial trouble.
I have no doubt that the “Inside Job” will open everyone’s eyes of those who are watching this documentary because when you find out how this cycle of financial irresponsibility has been going on for decades and still happening today, you can’t help but wonder if we are going to be headed in the same direction as Iceland.
As the film opens up with the financial crisis in Iceland, it was quite shocking to watch and see what happened in that country which had it all and then nearly lost it all. And when the question is asked by one in Iceland about the United States of America… you can’t help but think how screwed up things have went since 2008.
Many people knew that crimes were being committed but yet, this is how Wall Street, the banks and the government acted. Deregulation led to banks getting bigger and bigger, borrowing money and lending them while gambling with depositors’ money while many borrowers were offered high-risk borrowing for the “sub-prime” market in guarantee of high returns.
Employees and upper administrative staff lived in luxury, the banks with so much money were able to buy their way into society including universities as many economists from Ivy League universities took part in support of reckless deregulation.
If anything, “Inside Job” is a film that really opened my eyes and what I saw of what took place in Wall Street especially between the government was just disgusting, infuriating but at the same time, just knowing how corruption continues unfortunately even in Obama’s administration. These people who were involved as part of the problem, continue to get hired in the government and also teach at Ivy League Schools. How can we trust them?
The cares of the American people were not the priority, it was getting rich and unfortunately, there was no accountability and where most thieves go to jail, in the case of these banks were fraud were committed, they received a government bail-out.
As for the documentary, Charles Ferguson knew how complex this documentary had to be. He needed the right people to interview and the research to let us know what is fact. This is not some one-sided documentary where you hear one side and everything about the other side is bad, bad, bad. “Inside Job” was able to achieve its efficacy because we see how things are from both sides of the coin, he dissects the financial crisis and gives us interviews of those who were involved. Not only specialists but there are major players took part in the film (not all but a good number of them did) and gave their impression of what happened. You also see the gall of some of these individuals as they have no qualms of what they have done. But it would have been nice to hear from CEO’s or even Greenspan but many declined to be take part in this documentary and be interviewed.
And to even leave a sour taste in your mouth, when you feel the Obama administration could make things right, unfortunately, the same Wall Street executives who are now working in government are still employed and still calling the shots of how America’s finance should be handled. In fact, we learn through this documentary that those who were involved in creating fraudulent reports and employed at Wall Street are now teaching America’s Ivy League schools.
But yet, director Charles Ferguson shows us in this documentary that he has the balls to call these people out and it’s what makes this documentary so great. Educating but also making sure the viewer, learns about the crime that has been committed but those who are being interviewed are not getting a pat in the hand like they did from the US government.
With his interviews, Ferguson intelligently takes them on and exposes some of them, especially the immoral ones for the part they took in America’s economic mess. Too bad that the high-profile players declined to be interviewed. It would have been great to see the major players of Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs and other companies embroiled in the financial crisis of 2008 take part in this film but its understandable.
But I will say that its a shame that the academic economists from Columbia University and Harvard University evaded Ferguson’s questions. If anything, they support the documentary and I wonder how their own bosses have felt about their behavior in this film. Because now, instead of people believing them as professionals to help the system, they end up showing that they were part of the problem and in the process, instead of answering the questions, they end up disgracing themselves.
In the end, although I may not understand the complexities of the financial crisis, as your average American watching this documentary, I appreciate Ferguson for opening my eyes. I was enraged after watching this film but if anything, those who seek out the questions of why our economy is so down at this time, at least we get to learn how these problems have built and built itself up in many decades after the Great Depression. I definitely give credit to Ferguson for keeping on topic and not becoming polemic in conspiracies.
It’s important to know that this DVD has an interesting audio commentary which follows up of what happened during the interviews as well as what has happened since the documentary. From the stock shots to the interviews, both Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs give a fascinating commentary that is worth listening to after you watch the film. Especially some of the deleted scenes that are included on the DVD.
Overall, “Inside Job” is a powerful documentary that is important and worth watching and for Charles Ferguson, his work is deserving of the Oscar! Highly recommended!
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