Inside Job - DVD Review

'makes Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps look like Bambi On Ice'

Arguably the best documentary of the last five years or so, Inside Job is a well-researched treatise on the banking collapse of 2008 and the economic crisis that pervaded thereafter. Charles Ferguson's film does, like a lot of similar documentaries, catch a lot of supposedly clever people saying and doing very stupid things but, more than that, it explains what terms like 'derivatives' mean, pinpoints both their and other new market's places in this mess and does so in terms even those with little financial knowledge will understand. It summarises the global financial crisis, in less than two hours, in universally cognitive language, without treating its audience like idiots. It is a remarkable film.

Beyond dealing with the money, the pure dollar values, sloshing about the place, Inside Job is also a deeply upsetting indictment of human values in the twenty-first century. Time and again, people appear in front of the camera and lie, or at least muddle their facts, in an attempt to get themselves off the hook. People who could - and should - conceivably take a lot of the blame for the mess walk into high paid jobs, sell their shares and make millions or, in more than one case, end up in highly paid government positions. It is a sad, sad, treatise, an expose, on those who value personal wealth more than that of global well-being.

'Do you condemn the illegal activities of some of the companies you represent?', Ferguson asks a financial lobbyist, early in the film. 'Well... erm... you'll have to be specific'. He has another think, 'erm... obviously yes... we don't condone illegal activity'. This is the mindset that Ferguson does a good job of presenting as prevalent across the board in banking. The first answer is 'I don't know' or 'I can't answer that question'; 'who are you, mere member of the public, and why do you want to know what I'm doing to your world?'. Only by the time the second answer comes in have the idea of morals even crossed any given individuals' brain.

Perhaps the greatest praise you can lay on Inside Job is that it makes Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps look like Bambi On Ice. Ferguson could have settled for minutiae; idiots who are willing to prove themselves such in front of the camera, but instead he goes for hard figures, great research and incisive questioning. He pins people down with regularity and explains complicated economic reckonings with great clarity. There are several people that should have lost their jobs, their fortunes and their freedoms because of this film. Perhaps the greatest indictment of how much truth it offers is the fact that they haven't and they won't. An essential documentary.

Look further...

'the anger it generates is an indication of its effectiveness at getting its message across' - Ross v Ross, 4/5


  1. This film had caught my eye and had been mentally noted on my watch list, but after reading this sterling review I have decided to watch it this very night.
    I will report back tomorrow!

    1. Look forward to hearing from you about how you found it! It's very timely and the way it explains things that have confused me for years is exemplary. One of those films you need to talk about the next day.

  2. Definitely worth watching. However it would have been helpful if it had a conclusion. The documentary gets you angry, makes you realise that nothing has changed, then doesn't show you what to do now. Other than that it is one of the best documentaries I have ever seen.

    1. Can see what you mean - some sort of link to the Occupy movement or something perhaps? Still thought it had enough without that. The arguments are very well explained.