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David James Elliott
Brian Cruver, an ambitious 26-year-old lands a job at Enron. As he assimilates to the company's get-rich-quick mantra, spending sprees and wild corporate "gatherings" become the norm. But when Enron files for bankruptcy, Cruver discovers he's just a pawn in a failing game of corporate greed--one that made the rich richer...while the rest lost everything. Written by
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
We're the bad guy. We're the criminals. And don't think it's just this company. There's hundreds of Enrons out there, a thousand, cooking the books, inflating the earnings, hiding the debt, buying off the watchdogs.
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Very basic TVM that will maybe work for people who can't get hold of a copy of Smartest Guys In The Room but few others
Having had ambitions since a being young man, Brian Cruver is fired up when he gets a desk at Enron one the largest companies in America. After taking a bit of time to come to terms with the approach and working style of the place, Cruver quickly settles in and makes a name for himself with some big deals, perhaps being helped a bit by knowing Mr Blue, one of the top men in the company.
With Kenneth Lay dead mere months after being found guilty, the Natwest Three becoming a major political football in UK/US relations and one of the bankers found dead six days after going missing, my interest in the subject was peaked enough to look back on this film from a few years ago. The downside of my timing was that I had already seen the imperfect but vastly superior Smartest Guy in the Room. As a documentary, this other film focuses on developing the main story and presenting it as clearly as possible. It also benefits hugely from having access to the in-house video footage that this film can only dramatise. Conversely this film takes a dramatisation path that means by default it has to focus on the made-up character of Cruver and his story as much as on the story of Enron. To some viewers this will work but I suggest that these people have not seen Smartest Guys.
This film does a so-so job of explaining the story but it is happy to do it in massive jumps and simplifications that don't give you the time to let them sink in more than you need to keep Cruver's story moving forward. It delivers the impact of the story pretty basically as well having women crying about their lost money etc. The focus on Cruver doesn't really work because you can't shake the feeling (the knowledge) that his story is infinitely less interesting than the wider story of the corporation and its impact on business. It is made weaker by the TVM style delivery which works "best" overdoing the soapy emotion of the tale but cannot cope with the complex case and the wider ramifications. The direction is so-so and the budget limited although in fairness Smartest Guys used the real offices and real footage, so this can't compare.
The cast are roundly weak, which isn't that much of a surprise. Kane is bland and never convinces no matter what his character is going through. Sure his material isn't that good but his performance is no better. Elizabeth is a "big name" in this film and to the vast majority of us alarm bells will be ringing she has little to do either way. Dennehy turns in with a poor character that is used to explain things in the place of a decent script and his lack of interest is writ large across his performance. The rest of the cast are so-so at best but few convince and Farrell and Wynne are particularly weak.
Overall this is an entry-level film if you are looking to learn more about power, corporations much better is Smartest Guys. In the absence of that film this might be worth a look but it is hard to get a lot of value from this very soapy approach. Works as daytime fodder but the truth deserves much, much more than this.
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