7.2/10
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2 user 21 critic

Master of the Universe (2013)

Der Banker: Master of the Universe (original title)
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A former banker in Germany, who entered the business with the advent of modern computer systems reminisces of his working years in some of the world-leading banking corporations.

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Rainer Voss ...
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A former banker in Germany, who entered the business with the advent of modern computer systems reminisces of his working years in some of the world-leading banking corporations. His narration outlines the typical paradigm of the professional and personal life of a bank's employee, along with the ethical dilemmas they often faced. Also, he shares his views on the dynamics in financial markets and recession. Written by maniabee

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7 November 2013 (Germany)  »

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Master of the Universe  »

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Nothing truly masterful about this documentary
15 November 2013 | by (Berlin, Germany) – See all my reviews

After his 2011 fiction movie "Das System - Alles verstehen heißt alles verzeihen", director Marc Bauder is back to his origins: the documentary genre. Here he gives us an insight into the common procedures in the financial world. The whole film, slightly under 1.5 hours, was shot in an office building which has been empty for a couple years now since the major fusion of two companies. And as the setting stays the same, so does the interviewee. From start to finish, we basically have Rainer Voss, a man in his early 50s, who has been part of the business world in an elevated position for decades until being "let go" recently, tell us about how things really work and what the current climate in that area is like. I have to admit that economy isn't exactly one of my most passionate areas and this documentary couldn't spark my interest either.

The protagonist is quite an interesting character though. Obviously he knows a great deal on the subject and is not shy of letting the viewer know. Occasionally, it seems almost arrogant, but there's also parts when it's pretty interesting as well. Here and there it got too scientific and he lost me, but the best parts were when he told about the interpersonal relationships and to what extent they do or do not actually exist until everybody inevitably gets flushed out of the whole process when they reach a certain age. Still they make a lot of money to that point. He tells that he made from his very first day in the business world more money than his craftsman father made before he went into retirement. Sometimes you could still see the ways of self-promotion in Voss' mannerisms that probably brought him as high up to where he got and it was all too self-centered to my taste, but you could also see that his profession sort of robbed him of all his illusions. Another thing I disliked was the way the interviewer (director?) handled the situation. I think it's better if we either don't hear him at all, even if he asks questions or if we hear him frequently. However, we hear him very rarely which I found a bit of a distraction and when he asked something it was mostly not fitting in a journalistically interesting way, but just digging deeper into the previous question which we may not even have heard before.

I'd really only recommend this movie to people with great interest into economics, maybe especially those who studied it. I'm curious if his prediction about France being the next bigger domino to fall will become reality. The one thing I take from this documentary is that it's indeed always the more kissing upwards and kicking downwards the more money is involved and it's an environment I wouldn't want to imagine working in.


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