(2010) director Charles Ferguson
viewed: 12/18/10 at the Clay Theater, SF, CA
The global financial crisis, which started cresting into undeniability in 2008, whose impact is ongoing, deeper, world-wide, and far from over, is the subject of Inside Job, a documentary that seeks to expose and explain how it came to be. Directed by Charles Ferguson, whose film about the Iraq War, No End in Sight (2007), painted a damning portrait of the hubris and failures of that venture, turns his lens on a crisis that was decades in the making and God only knows how long to be in the un-making. It’s a film that stuns, informs, and pisses you off to no end.
Actually, beyond that, the breadth and depth of the information is overwhelming. I’ve never had much of a mind or interest for finance. But Ferguson boils down the housing market fiasco in visual and understandable terms. What comes out of it is the fact that this Ponzi-scheme of an inflated housing market, which led to a flood of sub-prime loans, was made possible by the deregulation of the financial industry, an undoing to the reforms put in place after the Great Depression in order to stabilize the markets. And while this deregulation began in the Reagan years, it continued through both Bush administrations as well as Clinton’s. While the shit really got crazy in the second Bush administration, the underpinnings of the system had been deconstructed for two decades by that point. This problem has been growing for years.
What’s also shocking is the pervasiveness of involvement in this whole thing. Business, government, educators, every facet is complicit. And the outright lies and greed and audacity. It’s nothing short of stunning.
The whole thing seriously makes my head spin.
I can’t recommend this enough. Ferguson takes on a dense, vast subject, and while it verges on more than you can absorb in one sitting, it’s the kind of information that everyone should know and understand.
What is also stunning is how the architects of this disaster are the same people called in to “fix” it. The Obama administration, inheriting this disaster, is basically taking on the same people who could and perhaps should be in jail to help “right the ship”. But this problem is bigger than the United States of America alone. It’s so big that it’s hard to fully fathom. I am somewhat dumbstruck. Pissed and dumbstruck.