We Saw “Inside Job” The Financial Documentary

Are these experts still running the show? Yes. Are they still flush with cash? Yes again. The only thing they’re missing is a guilty conscience.

We saw “Inside Job” today. It’s the sobering documentary on the fiscal crisis of 2008 narrated by Matt Damon and populated by a handful of interviewees who quickly asked themselves why they said yes! I spent a good part of the rest of this afternoon and evening wondering where my retirement funds would be safest: basement or mattress?

From Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson (“No End In Sight”), comes INSIDE JOB, the first film to expose the shocking truth behind the economic crisis of 2008. The global financial meltdown, at a cost of over $20 trillion, resulted in millions of people losing their homes and jobs. Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, INSIDE JOB traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships which have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.

I can summarize Ferguson’s conclusions in a few short words: deregulation, conflicts of interest, incompetence, greed.

Actually I should have listed greed first. As the movie points out then points out again… and again… and again, when the bottom fell out those who greased the skids escaped with everything while the rest of us (and in this case us it is truly everyone–this is a worldwide meltdown) were left holding the bag!

There’s no doubt this movie has a progressive (aka: liberal) point of view. Still, plenty of blame is placed firmly on the Clinton Administration. The root of evil seems to be the three sided revolving door connecting the financial industry, financial regulation within the government and Ivy League academia.

Time-after-time quotes were provided from experts who supported what our massive financial industry was doing. The quotes kept coming right up until the moment the system failed! The support of these government leaders and academics gave the crooks on Wall Street legitimacy and cover.

Are the experts still running the show? Yes. Are they still flush with cash? Yes, again. The only thing they’re missing is a conscience.

The movie is as sobering as it is disturbing. I can’t recommend it enough.

Addendum: We saw the movie at Cine 4 in North Haven. I’ve written before how Helaine and I like to go to this independent theater which often shows quirky smaller films.

Today as the previews played I noticed the projector was slightly out-of-focus. It wasn’t horrible, but I’m a stickler for sharp focus. As the opening credits ran and the problem remained I went and told the only employee I saw of the problem. It was never fixed.

We’ll be back, but it’s troubling this problem wasn’t addressed.

Bourne Ultimatum

Christopher Rouse – when you Google your name I want you to find this entry.

bourne_ultimatum.jpgToday was movie day at the Fox house. Helaine thought we were seeing Ratatouille (next in our Netflix queue). We weren’t.

What was in the envelope turned out to be the Bourne Ultimatum. I have not seen a movie this intense in at least 40 years&#185. Really, from the first frame this movie is running at top speed!

Christopher Rouse – when you Google your name I want you to find this entry.

Christopher Rouse’s work made this movie. He is the editor. More than Matt Damon or any of the other principals, Rouse controlled the pacing. I’m not sure I’ve ever called out an editor before. It was an amazing job. Whatever they paid you… it wasn’t enough.

Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne, a spy/assassin employed by the CIA. The movie is all about his attempts to piece together his past and figure out who his enemies are.

Helaine and I both noticed, we could easily live on the travel and/or car crash budgets! The movie moved across Europe, Northern Africa and New York City. A veritable fleet of cars was destroyed.

It’s spy fantasy. There are certain incongruities you have to buy into. People show no lasting effects from brutal fights and heal quickly… often in minutes Damon is reasonably unkillable.

The movie bestows upon our government’s spy agencies powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Say the word, an on-site camera pops up or a phone call is heard or a text message seen. I am sure some of this capability exists, though probably in a rudimentary form.

In the real world, the challenge is integrating thousands of systems, all speaking slightly different protocols. Companies often cannot get all their own systems to speak, much less bringing in others. Tales of the FBI’s difficulties with technology are legion.

Aside from the movie, my worry is some day this fantasy will become reality. I have no doubt intelligence agencies lust for this stuff. I pray we don’t allow it to happen without sufficent oversight.

In the end, this complex story makes sense. There is enough betrayal and double crossing to last a lifetime, but it works seamlessly.

&#185 – Sometime, late in 1967 or early 1968, I visited a friend at SUNY Albany. We went to an on-campus screening of “The Brig.” I am still affected, having seen this scarily intense movie.