A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.
Now to the film itself. It takes almost two hours to chart the history of Enron, from the beginning in the mid 80's to its sudden collapse in 2001. There are interviews with everyone involved with the company from accountants to regular employees, and like all Ponzi schemes, people might have had their doubts and suspicions, but nobody wanted to upset the money train especially if they are on that train. And like all Ponzi schemes Enron came to a sudden abrupt end when there was no way to hide the fact that all of the money and the profits were not real.
Also very interesting is the gladiator/macho corporate culture described, largely caused by COO Jeff Skilling waking up one day, realizing he was a nerd, and wanting to throw off that nerd persona. He lost weight, worked out, got Lasik done on his eyes, and began to organize adventure trips for himself and an inner circle of Enron executives, some of which involved actual bodily danger. He instituted an Enron employee ranking system in which employees were ranked from 1-5 and those in the lowest ranks were automatically terminated. It was the Billionaire Boys Club minus the murder and involving a much bigger club.
Of course, now the scandal looks almost quaint compared to what we've been living with since 2008.In 2005, when this film was made, such an implosion by a company that had been named "most innovative company" for six consecutive years by CEOs, 1996-2001, the last year being the year of Enron's collapse, was still quite the spectacle. The irony is that if Enron had collapsed in 2011 instead of 2001, I doubt anybody would have gone to jail. Heck, it might not have even been newsworthy except in Texas! Also, the company might have even received a federal bailout.
The highlight of the film for me - a video "Christmas card" to Ken Lay made by Enron execs in which they do a comedy sketch about "creative accounting" which turns out to be EXACTLY what the company was doing that hid their problems.
- Apr 21, 2013