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Too Big to Fail
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Reviews & Ratings for
Too Big to Fail (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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83 out of 91 people found the following review useful:

Paulson was no altruistic hero

5/10
Author: kelly-ann-mchale from United Kingdom
18 August 2011

Unfortunately the filmmakers felt the need to create a "hero" of the piece -- unlike the source book, which simply tells what happened. They chose Henry Paulson (William Hurt), ex-Goldman Sachs CEO turned Treasury Secretary. But the real-life Paulson is no hero.

The film makes a point that Paulson sold all his Goldman stock before becoming Treasury Sec, but fails to point out that he was excused from all taxes on the sale, which saved him upwards of $50 million.

The film also whitewashes Paulson's $150 billion AIG bailout, claiming that AIG owed money to almost everybody in the world. In fact, AIG's largest creditor was, that's right, Goldman Sachs. Paulson failed to negotiate a hard-nosed payout of AIG's obligations, such as offering creditors 50c on the dollar, which the creditors would have had no choice but to accept. This would have saved US taxpayers a cool $75 billion. But it would have hurt Paulson's pals at Goldman.

My point being, Paulson was thoroughly compromised, and managed to feather his own nest and that of his old pals. What next? A stirring depiction of Dick Cheney's altruistic hiring of Halliburton in Iraq? This shortcoming aside, the film clips along nicely, and it's fun to see so many name actors portraying the Wall Street titans. James Woods is a perfect Dick Fuld.

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65 out of 76 people found the following review useful:

The Scariest Movie I've Ever Seen

8/10
Author: TheEconoclast from United States
1 June 2011

I'm not kidding.

This is the scariest movie I've ever seen. But that's just me.

As some who works deep in the world of finance and lost sleep with the rest of Wall Street during that dark and disturbing week, it's possible that I'm a little too close to this story. It hits home. Thankfully, Too Big to Fail opens up a window so that the rest of world can look in from the safety of their living room.

Forget monsters, serial killers, and the nouveau low-budget movement of "two guys in a room with a camera and a ghost."

This is real. This happened. This could happen again.

You'll be terrified to see just how close to the brink we came, how close we were to one of the biggest economic disasters in human history. And you'll be shocked to learn about the types of personalities in which the rest of the planet has invested so much power and authority. Troubling, yes. But it's an important piece of history as well.

In terms of production HBO knocked this one out of the park. That's to be expected, I suppose, when you sign one of the great working American directors in Curtis Hanson and use one of the most highly respected chronicles of the financial crisis as your source material. Andrew Ross Sorkin even has a cameo and gets credit as a consulting producer to make sure they got the facts straight.

So it's no wonder such a brilliant, top shelf cast fell in line. HBO must have had their pick of the litter. The names in this movie are not only eerie facsimiles of their real life counterparts, but these are the actors that can really act.

The ever-dependable William Hurt is admirable in the lead, bring a little humanity to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, but it's the supporting performances that deserve special praise. Billy Crudup boils with intensity as an anxious, f-bomb dropping Tim Geithner, and Paul Giamatti perfectly captures the essence of Ben Bernanke, that quietly authoritative voice that the biggest egos in the world always shut up and listen to. Viewers at home will get a kick out of Ed Asner as Warren Buffett and, as is always the case with Buffett, his folksy charm serves as a bridge into to the arcane world of high finance. And former Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld is appropriately vilified thanks to James Woods, not for being a greedy fraudster, but for being a sadly out-of- touch executive unable to adjust to a world that changed overnight. Despite Fuld's arrogance and bluster, Woods invests him with a subtle sense of dignity.

Too Big to Fail achieves a rare feat for talky dramas: it sustains acute tension for ninety full minutes, never slowing down and never climaxing prematurely.

Even if you're not a financial insider or policy wonk you'll be on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Just don't watch it late at night.

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39 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Short and Sweet

8/10
Author: Tristan Robin Blakeman from New Haven, CT
29 May 2011

After watching hours of news stories about the bank bailouts, I still never fully grasped what was going on - only the most broad outlines of it.

This movie explained it clearly - and, most shockingly, somebody made a movie about banking regulations that was interesting and engrossing.

Excellent cast at the top of their game - and first rate writing and directing. Check this one out!

(Disclaimer: If you need car chases, boobs-and-butts, terrorist bombings, food fights or sex and drugs to enjoy a film, skip this one! It's not going to be up your alley!)

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32 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

It's full of ****

1/10
Author: nikolaskjeldsen from Norway
2 June 2012

HBO and Peter Gould did a disservice to the American people by stuffing their nose up the ass of Wall Street and the Federal Reserve bank by not even coming close to laying blame where it belongs. The film is almost comical in its representation of Paulsen, Bernanke and Geithner. All three of these clowns are characterized as heroic as they struggle to save the American economy from collapsing. The film is mostly fiction and is clearly an attempt to hide the truth from the American people. I would recommend watching a more truthful depiction of what actually happened, as for example "Inside Job" which is actually a documentary and not a fictional representation. This is all in all, nothing but propaganda.

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38 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Where is the real story?

5/10
Author: rubbersoul-1 from United States
8 June 2011

I liked this movie when I first saw it. Entertaining, great performances, and what I thought was a great explanation of the 2008 economic crisis. Then I watched the documentary "Inside Job" and learned the truth. Hank Paulson was not a hero. He started the house on fire to collect his money (deregulation) and then had to scramble to put it out when he realized he was going to burn with it. This movie makes him look like a hero for putting it out. By the way he collected a nice chunk of change by selling his stock with Goldman Sachs to become the Treasury Secretary (mandatory)before the crash. And don't get me wrong, he didn't do it all alone and in no way his he solely responsible, and i'm glad him and Geitner succeeded in keeping our world from falling apart, but this movie rings way too false after you watch the real story in "Inside Job". I won't speculate on Mr. Sorkins (writer) motives, but he and his co-writer are way off on telling the true story of what happened. I still appreciate the performances and direction, but it's like watching a lie now. Sorry, please watch Inside Job narrated by Matt Damon by the way, and see what you think!

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28 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

"Too Big to Fail" Truly Succeeds

8/10
Author: LCRebbe from United States
6 June 2011

This HBO produced film gives dialog and a behind-the-scenes feel to the 2008 financial debacle so perfectly exposed in "Inside Job."

The direction by Curtis Hanson is razor-clean cut, and the performances, especially by James Woods, Paul Giamatti and William Hurt underscore the irony that not one of the self-serving "public servants" has "served" one single day of jail time and continue to live their over-the-top, elegant lifestyles.

The effective use of actually news footage from our 24/7 news cycle serve as a percussive soundtrack as we watch the financial worlds of your "off the Street" American citizens self destruct at the hands of the Bush administration.

Thank you HBO for continuing to do what you have done so well for so many years!

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17 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

An all right original film of the economic meltdown, and how government bails them out one by one!

7/10
Author: Danny Blankenship from Petersburg, Virginia
30 May 2011

This HBO original film "Too Big to Fail" shows one by one how the major financial companies took a dive one by one all by risky investments with lenders money. And the selling of bad mortgage loans and fake stock lead to the downfall of AIG, Bank of America, Merill Lynch, and Leman Brothers. And sadly as we see in this film as many Americans remember the American tax payer had to bail each out with their tax dollars when the federal government in Washington D.C. decided for it.

Director Curtis Hanson is true to form in this film as it was adapted from Andrew Ross Sorkin's book of the same name. The performances in the film are spot on especially that of William Hurt as treasury secretary Henry Paulson and veteran Paul Giamatti as fed chair Ben Bernanke. Also it was nice seeing James Woods and Cynthia Nixon("Sex and the City")in small roles, plus a delight was Ed Asner as Warren Buffet. This film proved what we all know the big financial companies and government people are tied in together and corrupt and the average Joe foots the bill for their escape as they clearly are "To Big To Fail"

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13 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Sympathy? No

5/10
Author: happel317 from United States
22 March 2012

The movie itself was put together very well following the chronicles of the fiasco that unfolded during the credit crunch. Where it went horribly wrong is by humanizing Hank Paulson. Making him seem vulnerable and genuine and sincere. It has recently been published that Saint Paulson tipped off 20 or so hedge funds about the coming collapse so they could unload their positions. And this film is attempting to portray him as the victim and the hero and laud him with applause for working so diligently on this problem. His colleagues at Goldman cleaned up on the CDS contracts betting on the inevitable crisis they knew was coming. James Woods did a very good job at making Dick Fuld's loathsome character believable, though.

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19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Solid HBO Original Film

8/10
Author: ayochristian from United States
2 June 2011

I want to start off with saying I don't really watch these types of movies where it deals with a lot of politics and such, because I find them boring, but this is not the case for "Too Big to Fail." I was highly engrossed and very surprised. Quite a few familiar faces who all do an excellent job. Music score was top-notch; just as thrilling as Dark Knight or Inception's musical score. Cinematography on point. Overall great story based on a major crisis we are still recovering from. I tip my hat to the director and writers.

E D I T: Although this is a good film, it is fiction therefore not accurate. The film falsely portrays Henry Paulson as some type of hero when in reality he is not. With that said though it is a good film, and very entertaining for a political thriller but do yourself a favor and watch Inside Job also. Inside Job is much more precise, and highly informational. If you want to know the whole truth of what happened in the 2008 crisis you must watch Inside Job. I highly recommend watching Inside Job rather than Too Big to Fail.

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23 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Accurate Portrayal of our Economic Condition

10/10
Author: (Richie@RanRightRealty.com) from United States
29 May 2011

As a Real Estate Broker watching this movie, I felt all my beliefs on the subject matter of our current economic failings confirmed. The movie connects the dots and portrays accurately how big money is managed by big people. The little guy actually has no say at all and is just along for the ride. One also sees how fragile everything is if it doesn't work properly. One has thoughts of returning to farming and hunting and living in a nice cabin as a sure thing in these uncertain economic, misrepresented times. Also, our friends the Saudis are no where to be found in this movie which desperately searches for bail-out money. Trillions sit in the middle east frozen for fear of assinations if help is offered to USA is this commentors opinion...Excellent movie but no closure because we are still living in the problem....

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