I’ll admit when I first heard about Inside Job I groaned. Do I really want to sit through two hours of all that financial bullshit that dragged us all down with it in 2008? We lived it why do we need to watch a movie about it? Then it beat out Exit Through The Gift Shop in the Oscar race for Best Documentary and I was mostly disappointed that we didn’t get to see Banksy run up onstage in a monkey mask to accept his award. “I’m sure it’s a good film ” I thought. I don’t need to sit through it though. I already know what happened. I get it. Well it turns out I didn’t.
What Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job accomplishes that hours and months of news coverage during the financial crisis of 2008 didn’t is calmly collect all the relevant information history and factors that led to the meltdown and compile them into a terrifying but very well-presented format. While many of us felt the effects or witnessed others’ losses during the crisis most of us felt helpless to understand the intricacies of how it all happened. We don’t know what the mechanics of the financial industry are and how these bits and pieces work together but what this film did show us is that’s okay. We don’t need to know how derivatives work necessarily. We don’t to be mathematical geniuses. All we need to know is how the corruption that led to the financial meltdown connects; how it happened. And you really don’t have to be a genius to understand that.
The film does a fantastic job of using the drama and still very recent emotions to connect you to an issue that in most rights is extremely intangible. It’s uncomfortable for sure. Despite the fact that Matt Damon’s comforting voice narrates the film it’s still hard to fight the urge to scream or vomit as the sheer audacity of these financial tyrants’ blatant disregard for consequences mounts. At times it reminds me of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street films showing sweeping scenes of New York that evoke the fabled promise of the beautiful skyline and simultaneously elude to the corrupt disease that infected the city’s financial institutions and eventually the entire world. Is it a dramatization? Yes. Will it rile you up? Yes. But is it a true story and a fantastic easy-to-understand way of educating us all so that we may be more vigilant as a democratic society as we move into the future? You betcha.
I doubt that any of us need to see this in the vivid display the Blu-ray offers the message is striking enough on its own but it is a beautifully shot film and the format definitely helps to emphasize that. The disc’s special features are pretty straightforward: commentary making of and deleted scenes…lots of deleted scenes. It’s a lot to get through especially since the film is such a gruesome tale to begin with. If however you have further morbid curiosity it’s definitely worth the time to get through it all.
Now I hate – I mean HATE – when critics use that old cliché “Everyone should watch this film ” but I will break my own rule right here right now and say yes every American should watch this film. Everyone should take the time to get a grip on how we plunged into the recession. It’s not fun or pretty but it’s important and while that doesn’t make it sound any more appealing just keep in mind that it’s got Matt Damon as that little spoon full of sugar to help you wash it down. It’s not much but it helps.