I think the best name for them would be Howard Beale-movies. You know what I mean: movies which are angry as hell, not going to take it anymore and want YOU to march with them. The most prolific producer of these is Michael Moore, and while I have great respect for the man as a filmmaker, his movies always leave me a little uncomfortable. A lot can be done to fool the audience with some creative editing and quoting out of context, and much of his movies are just a little too one-sided to be accepted without any critical examination on the part of the viewer. After all, the situations being tackled here are very complex, and often regulated by very smart people. Yet for many filmmakers, it’s all too tempting to oversimplify just to get a point across.
One of the many virtues of Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job is that it succeeds in sidestepping most of these issues. It’s clear that the filmmakers have done their homework, and the array of people they have interviewed for the movie is impressive. They include politicians, lawyers, world-class economist and the finance ministers of China and France. And although they come from a wildly different background, all of them have basically the same message: the economic crisis is to be blamed on the reckless risk-taking of Wall Street.
I am no economist, but I do know a little about human nature. And what Inside Job shows beautifully is that the crisis, at it’s core, was due to some very human flaws: greed, peer pressure and lack of perspective. Sins you won’t realize you’ve succumbed to until you realize it’s too late. It makes for some very compelling viewing to see the bankers struggling to defend themselves against the accusations of a world they have been so desperately trying to avoid all these years.
What perhaps works best about Inside Job, however, is that it doesn’t really take an easy side. Politicians on both side of the spectrum are criticized equally severely, and the filmmakers make it clear that this is a deep-rooted problem which can’t be easily solved. This is probably why it never feels overtly preachy, which is refreshing. It’s still very much a movie with an agenda and antagonists, but it give you room for your own interpretation.
Did this movie make me angry as hell? Nah. But I definitely ain’t in the mood for taking it anymore.
P.S: Hello World.