Enron dives from the seventh largest US company to bankruptcy in less than a year in this tale told chronologically. The emphasis is on human drama, from suicide to 20,000 people sacked: the personalities of Ken Lay (with Falwellesque rectitude), Jeff Skilling (he of big ideas), Lou Pai (gone with $250 M), and Andy Fastow (the dark prince) dominate. Along the way, we watch Enron game California's deregulated electricity market, get a free pass from Arthur Andersen (which okays the dubious mark-to-market accounting), use greed to manipulate banks and brokerages (Merrill Lynch fires the analyst who questions Enron's rise), and hear from both Presidents Bush what great guys these are.Written by
Among the protesters who disrupt the meeting with Jeff Skilling at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club is Marla Ruzicka. The former Global Exchange activist founded CIVIC (Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict), which worked to help the victims of the war in Iraq. She died in Iraq on April 16, 2005, the victim of a suicide bombing. See more »
[Q&A session with employees]
All right, we are down to questions. And I got a few up here.
[reads question from the floor]
'I would like to know if you are on crack, if so that would explain a lot. If not, you may want to start because it's going to be a long time before we trust you again.'
See more »
When Enron filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2001, it was a shock to most Americans. But as "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" shows, it shouldn't have been. The documentary, narrated by Peter Coyote, traces the energy giant's origins - including CEO Ken Lay's childhood - to its rise as one of the largest corporations in the United States.
What's really interesting is the intricacy of Enron's actions around the world, and how it pulled off all its shenanigans (aided, of course, by Kenny Boy's contributions to George W. Bush's first presidential campaign). Among Enron's more vicious acts was its manipulation of California's electricity in summer, 2001, and how Arnold Schwarzenegger let the company off the hook. Not to mention that Enron's collapse was accompanied by Lay's draining of the employees' retirement.
Enron's downfall - followed over the next year by the implosions of Adelphia, WorldCom and Tyco - just goes to show the dangers of letting corporations run rampant. The whole way through, the documentary manages to be funny, just at the sight of what Enron was doing, abetted by Arthur Andersen.
All in all, I definitely recommend "E:TSGITR".
PS: In "Bowling for Columbine", Michael Moore proposed a TV show called "Corporate Cops" (based on "Cops!"), in which people like Ken Lay would get strip-searched.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this