DIR: Charles Ferguson • WRI: Chad Beck, Adam Bolt • PRO: Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs • DOP: Svetlana Cvetko, Kalyanee Mam • ED: Chad Beck, Adam Bolt • Cast: Matt Damon, William Ackman, Daniel Alpert
Matt Damon’s voice is automatically trustworthy, and as such, his are the perfect dulcet tones with which to unleash this vision of financial Hades onto the big screen. So begins Inside Job, a documentary about the recent economic meltdown that has resulted in countless job losses, factory closures, house repossessions – and forced Wall Street stockbrokers to downgrade from Lamborghinis to Bentleys. Yes, the truth is far more terrifying than the fiction; greed and people caused the crash, and those greedy people are still in their positions of horrifying power.
There could probably be no more timely release for Inside Job in Ireland than this moment of political uncertainty and economic panic: interest is certainly at a peak, but so too is people’s desire to understand exactly what has happened and why. How documentaries, in general, fill various voids of information is in creating short but informative, easily-watchable diatribes on any given issue. Inside Job excels in this field of discourse, aiming the attacking documentary-eye onto the one group of people the world over are bemoaning – bankers. What follows is a connect-the-dots approach to understanding a global financial crisis from its almost-conception to its present-day conclusion. To get to the full roots of why capitalism and globalisation are failing would require a much longer movie – and even Matt Damon’s melodious tone would rasp at the length of that tale. Instead, Inside Job unravels the threads of information relating to our current global state of affairs, seeking to make understandable that which seems beyond explanation. Interviewing everyone they could access – from financial insiders and ex-government staff members, to academics-for-hire and Chinese factory workers – the film pulls absolutely no punches in its determination to not only get to the bottom of this crisis, but hold someone accountable.
Director Charles H. Ferguson uses the documentary genre to its maximum effect, and one of the more interesting stylistic choices is for his camera to remain on subjects after they have answered the question. This allows the viewer to judge their responses based on their stutters, their eye movements, and how uncomfortable they look with their own ideals. The talking heads thus speak for themselves, uninterrupted by the director’s wish to be an onscreen superstar, and connected only by Matt Damon’s pragmatic narration. Punctuated by a cacophony of ‘tutts’ and scandalised ‘chuhs’ from those around, the film enrages like no news report ever could. Basically documenting the crime of the century, Inside Job leaves the viewer not only with a better understanding of the complexities of the financial meltdown, but an innate desire to track down and punish those responsible.
Certainly offering some valid questions for the political limpids that turn up on Irish doorsteps over the next few weeks, this film tells the truth in a packagable and eminently watchable way. For those who wish to fuel their fire of righteous indignation, there is plenty of fodder, and for others who want merely to understand how this globalised crisis is affecting their everyday lives, here, too, is an explanation. A true-crime story incomparable to any other, Inside Job lifts the lid from Pandora’s Box of secrets, and lets the ordinary people in on the surreptitious world of those who have collectively ruined ours.
IFCO website for details)
Inside Job is released on 18th February 2011