The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron
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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Sad But True Story of Corporate Greed Run Wild

Author: Doris Bell (jabell) from Olney, MD
6 January 2003

The Crooked E, The Unshredded Truth About Enron, was based on the true story of an Enron employee, Brian Cruver, the ink hardly dry on his MBA when he came to work for the self-proclaimed "greatest company in the world." He starts out as a wide-eyed innocent and soon becomes seduced by "the dark side of the force," becoming arrogant, deceptive, and greedy, buying a Lexus convertible, a $700 raincoat, and planning a $60,000 wedding, much to the dismay of his down-to-earth fiancee, who eventually leaves him. But as he begins to realize just what is happening there, he quickly becomes disillusioned and, by the time the company has gone belly-up, he has regained his integrity (to the point of destroying a contract that would have badly hurt the client) and his fiancee. This, incidentally, is a departure from the book, as Cruver marries about two months into his short stay at Enron.

Christian Kane has the momentous job of playing Cruver, as he appears in every scene except for a prologue which shows him as a child with "Mr. Blue," Brian Dennehey. He also does the narration and has a brief song while driving his new Lexus. And he does it all with dash and aplomb. If this very handsome, talented young actor, whom the camera loves, is not a superstar in the next couple of years, there is something radically wrong. Tony winner Dennehey is outstanding as an employee with a sad story to tell, and Mike Farrell presents Ken Lay as either an eternal optimist or a bald-faced liar or some of both.

I hope this will eventually come out on video or DVD as it's a keeper.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Go, go, go then going, going, gone

Author: vchimpanzee
6 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This story of the Enron scandal is told from the standpoint of new employee Brian Cruver (it is never made clear whether he was a real person, but it doesn't really matter). Cruver learns quickly what is expected of Enron employees and how they can get rich. What he isn't told is that the people getting rich are doing it by falsifying numbers and making everything look good with future projected earnings. Cruver works in a department that has introduced a new kind of insurance: insurance against bankruptcy of a company or, say, one of its major customers. The question was probably never asked in real life but it is one of the many comments that seems humorous in light of the scandal's outcome: What if Enron goes bankrupt? Cruver becomes a real go-getter and, in one scene, it's really exciting to watch him pitch his product to a reluctant customer. Unfortunately, he is making it big at the expense of his relationship with his fiancee. He buys a big car, a big TV, everything he thinks he needs for happiness, with money he doesn't really have (just like Enron). He also takes his fiancee to a wild party; former strippers and skimpy dress seem all too common at this go-go-go company. Eventually, Cruver discovers that his superiors have been changing his numbers to make things look good, and while he is outraged, he doesn't really try to play the hero. Mike Farrell plays a bad guy for a change, Enron chairman Ken Lay, but he never comes across as a bad guy and is actually charming early in the movie but serious later. I was disappointed we didn't get to see him behind the scenes (the focus is really on the low-level employees); we were only shown his public face--his statements to the press and his speeches to employees--plus one scene with a whistleblower. I thought he did well in the role. An outstanding performance (as usual) was given by Brian Dennehy, who appears all too briefly as one of the top Enron employees and a friend of Cruver's father (though, ironically, he didn't seem to be behind Cruver's hiring). Two words you don't normally hear on network TV are spoken--one by the Enron CEO to the press, so apparently it is public record that he said it. Otherwise, that would have been gratuitous. (The word is repeated by a shocked Enron employee watching on TV). The other dirty word is spoken by Dennehy in a private conversation, though once the barrier has been broken, I guess anything goes. Overall, the language is not too bad. If you have been on Mars for two years the following is a SPOILER: Eventually everything at Enron must come crashing down. There are suspicions at first, some voiced by an old friend of Cruver's on Wall Street. Dennehy explains to Cruver, in that conversation where he used the bad word, that he knew about something that wasn't right. POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR ANYONE: In fact, Dennehy was transferred to a less desirable job, though he still believes he is going to prison, apparently because he didn't really press the issue. As the bottom drops out of everything, most of the employees shown in the movie have a lot to lose. DEFINITE SPOILERS: One unbelievably perky employee with a Southern accent welcomed the new employees early in the movie and can't be sad no matter what, and she is the one who tells everyone to leave when it's all over, still just as perky as ever, and she is one of the few who gets to stay. But don't worry about Cruver: at the very end, he still has his wife, and he realizes that's really the important thing.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

quite impressive

Author: amiee27 from litchfield ct
6 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

ok, well, theres really no way to give a spoiler for this movie, cause, unless you've been living in a hole for the last year or so, you know enron went under and why. however, this movie actually makes it pretty interesting and breathes life into what could have been a boring story about how to get by the SEC with accounting tricks. christian kane's acting is amazing in this movie and is truly above tv movie quality. the only real problem (in my eyes) is the slight level of predictablility in the romantic aspect of the story. the ending could have been a little more interesting, however this is no fault of the actors, just mediocre writing at this point, however overall, the movie held my interest and was actually rather good my rating: four of five stars

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

So this is what it's all about.......

Author: mandyattwell from Seattle Wa
5 January 2003

Thought this film was reasonable,it gave me a better understanding of what really happened....and i would suggest to anyone who is not clear as to the reason for Enrons demise,that they watch this film and get wise. I will be buying Brian Cruver's book as i think he should at least make a little cash out of all this!

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Greed is bad.

Author: Go_Blue_99
6 January 2003

This movie is a decently entertaining depiction of the fall of Enron, which was one of our nation's leading companies. It's based on the point of view of a recent University of Texas MBA grad, who gets hired in the bankruptcy division of Enron. For people who didn't follow the scandal, the movie does a solid job of illustrating why greed led to Enron's demise. With shareholders and upper management demanding better numbers (and thus better stock value), everyone was under pressure to cook the books.

There is some comedy in the movie (the Arthur Anderson audit team is always playing nerf basketball or computer golf; one of the characters gets a job at Worldcom after being laid off at Enron). However, being a TV movie, there is not much time for character depth. Did anyone really feel for the woman who lost her college savings in Enron stock? Also, I understand the producers were looking for star power, but Shannon Elizabeth did not belong in this movie. She is far too pretty to be playing a down-to-earth farm girl who hates the glamorous life her fiance brings her. Overall, this is a watch able movie for those that are interested in business.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The ultimate in corporate greed.

Author: triple8 from Conn
11 September 2003

I had heard so much about the Enron scandel and was interested to see the movie about the in depth scandel of this crooked company that put money abouve the welfare of human beings.

The true story is itself an utter outrage and watching the movie I felt it did capture, at least the feeling of what it was like to be an enron employee and it also managed to convey the idealistic dreams so many had going into the company. It is HARD for me to review this movie for the very reason that I just don't know how accurate and true to life it was. I never worked for Enron or knew anyone who did but I have known people who were motivated by little more then greed in life-still I don't know why there was a love story gone wrong plot going on as well, I don't even know if the main character in this movie actually existed.

And though the movie did show a typical working day in an Enron employee's life I would have liked it to go into more depth about the ramifications of what happened and how it effected so manys' lives in really tragic ways. Of coarse we all know the story but I'd perhaps have liked to see interviews with REAL Enron employees, these incredible people who put so much of their lives into their work and were hurt so badly by individuals whose only motive was money. It is sad, it is tragic and even though I'm not sure about the accuracy of anything about the movie, it was so fast paced and involving, my attention WAS held almost automatically by the movie in general(it's the only movie I've seen on the Enron scandel and it keeps you watching). But I still think some things should have been different and rather then this one guy's relationship with his wife, the movie should have had real life interviews. The movie touched me but something tells me the real life ramifications of the Enron scandel were about quintuple what the movie showed. I would also have liked to have seen what the law was doing to punish the people responsible for this and how some of the people who lost so much were doing now.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A great story of a really terrible company

Author: Mason9 from Cleveland, Ohio
6 January 2003

This movie was a true tale of the rise and fall of one of the top ten companies in the world. The reason for the fall? None other than GREED. The story is told through the eyes of a former employee who had first had info in the dealing. This movie had several great actor in it from Brian Denny to Shannon Elizabeth who role of an Enron Mans woman is the best she done to date. The role of salesman was played by upstart actor Anthony Hibbs and was a true testament to how sales should be done. The entire movie goes into great detail to how the plan was executed and how it fell apart. This movie is a true must see!

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1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

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

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
4 August 2006

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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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Read the other reviews

Author: triple8 from Conn
11 September 2003

A few minutes ago I submitted a review of this television movie and one thing I said was I didn't know whether the main character ever really existed or not. Then I read some of the other reviews and saw he did-that this was based on a true story of one of the Enron employees. I'm glad to know the main character wasn't fictionized so that definetly brings the movie up a point or 2 but I still wish they'd gone into more character depth with some of the other Enron employees.

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4 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Awful, Awful, Awful

Author: Jada Drummond
6 January 2003

As one of the victims of the whole Enron scandal, my mother forced me to watch this movie with her. How many times can I say awful? The script was so weak, using cliche after cliche. It seems as though the writers pieced this story together with a few articles on Enron. Watching the movie, we honestly were able to complete about half of the one-dimensional characters' lines and thoughts. I realize this was supposedly adapted from a book, but was the book this bad? I don't know what to say. Just terrible. The best thing about the movie? Shannon Elizabeth actually kept her clothes on. Other than that, this movie gets a big fat F.

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