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'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China. Written by
I expected more from a full-length feature documentary
This movie is a good basic primer about the financial crisis of 2008 for those who haven't really been following this story and have little or no financial knowledge. The official description promises that if you get angry when you think about the crisis, you're going to get even angrier after you watch the movie. It delivers on that promise. Several of the interview scenes also deliver a few good laughs. The movie's main strength is the way it explores academia's contribution to the collapse. It exposes the conflict of interest of academics who are supposed to be independent, expert voices in the field but who derive the bulk of their very lucrative incomes from paid consulting engagements on behalf of the financial services industry. This is an angle I hadn't seen covered before.
It also illustrates how little has changed in the American financial world, despite Obama's rhetoric. Rather than being held accountable for their role in the collapse, many of its architects remain in key positions of power
On the downside, the movie oversimplifies the causes of the crisis. It focuses primarily on deregulation and Wall Street's incentive structure and culture of reckless risk-taking and lax morals and ethics. It also briefly mentions poor risk assessments by credit rating agencies and predatory lending, without really explaining what it was or getting into any depth on the matter.
Sub-prime lending was mentioned only in a very cursory manner. There was no mention of the Clinton Administration's push for sub-prime lending to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income people.
There was no mention of the Federal Reserve's contribution to the housing bubble as a result of it's policy to ease credit conditions in the early 2000s to soften the impact of the collapse of the dot com bubble and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
There was no mention of the shadow banking system; how it contributed to the crisis and how it greatly amplified the losses.
There was no mention of David X. Li's Gaussian copula formula and how it was used by credit rating agencies to justify AAA ratings for collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that consisted of baskets of higher risk debt instruments.
I expected more from a full-length feature documentary. I've seen TV shows that delved into greater depth on this issue. This movie pushes the right emotional buttons but ultimately, it's light fare for those on a low-intellect diet.
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