INSIDE JOB 2/4
Sony Pictures Classics, Rated PG-13
Unless you’re Rip Van Winkle and have been taking a nap for some time, you’ve been made more than aware of the financial repercussions shaking the U.S. economy for the past few years. Whether it’s in the countless movies that seem to have created a brand new genre of recession cinema or the endless news reports, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out we’re in serious trouble.
Inside Job, the latest entry in this batch of films, feels a little like the last horse leaping over the finish line in Secretariat. The question naturally arises: What, if anything, does Inside Job director Charles Ferguson bring to the table that’s a new, different or even helpful revelation?
The answer is: not much. It’s disappointing, because the fact that Ferguson himself has been personally involved as a businessman in the financial sector could lend an additional light on matters. Instead, it leaves his subjectivity stuck in neutral and leaves investigative journalists and his fellow filmmakers to do the dirty work. Inside Job isn’t for nothing, though, as Ferguson has a firmer handle and broader analytical scope when scrutinizing the international situation and pinpointing signs of the pending crisis back then.
Narrated by Matt Damon, Inside Job does provide one disturbing observation: The current generation is the first one in U.S. history that will have less education and income than its parents. But Ferguson’s conclusion that more government regulation is in order may be really bad timing (see: the gov’t stepping in to clean up the financial sector by handing over billions in taxpayer dollars). This, while the administration declared just the other day, in self-congratulatory mode, that tending to the surging unemployment numbers was not on the agenda.
Hitting economic trouble spots in the U.S., Great Britain, Singapore and China, Inside Job also probes this country’s rise of academic yes men who have been bought and paid for under the table by corporations to spread their alleged “expert” favorable spin. And though there is no skimping on evidence and concise details contributing to the financial meltdown, a little less gotcha cinema and more consideration as to where we go from here would have been valuable.
Another documentary, Stephen K. Bannon’s Generation Zero, presents similar evidence but comes to the opposite conclusion: that a government filled with corporate players should mind its own business and not the business of Wall Street. So with Ferguson’s call for a kind of honor system in big business that would shame the corporate baddies out of existence, we’re left with two equally quixotic points of view. Take your pick.