Inside Job is a documentary by Charles Ferguson that takes us through the people, policies and actions that caused the global financial crisis (GFC) in 2008. It points out the specific people that actively contributed to the development of these policies and the deregulation of markets in order to make more money. Essentially this is a film about US greed and how the collapse of the economy in the US had widespread ramifications for the entire globe at a cost of $20 trillion. The film is split into 5 distinct sections, making it an easily digestible film that is essential viewing.
Anyone who has any interest into what led to the GFC will enjoy having the minute details of the collapse explained to them by the soothing tones of Matt Damon. It is an alarming film that will fill you will dread, dismay, sadness, indignation and, most of all, anger. However upon reflection I realized there were flaws with this film. No-one wants to watch a lengthy lecture of a film but this film relies too heavily upon snippets of interviews to build an argument. In one interview with Frederic Mishkin, ex-member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Ferguson uses footage of him struggling to answer a question, which feels like an underhand way of discrediting him. You have to remember that the film has been edited to suit the director's argument. I found myself recalling Michael Moore's films and his style of documentary-making that largely ignores the counter argument.
I feel as if I am abandoning my liberal left political views in saying this, but I had hoped the film would try to actively engage with the ideology of free markets that prompted the deregulation by successive American presidential administrations. By ignoring this aspect the director's argument has been weakened, he hasn't been able to definitively link this ideology with the GFC. Without this attack on particular figure heads such as the head of the Federal Reserve, Inside Job the punch that it could have achieved. This is a movie that was 2nd on the TIME Top 10 movie list of 2010, and while it is a sobering look at the way the world works, it could have had a broader scope rather than just limiting itself to the GFC.
The information provided is very wordy and while this is a slight barrier it's not debilitating. The arrogance of the US is clearly on display, not in a celebration of their world dominance but in the manner they ignore the rest of the world, even when decisions they've made so clearly affects other nations.
The ending of the film feels like a battle cry to those in the US, as well as the rest of the world. Change - fundamental change, not the change Obama promised and is yet to deliver - needs to occur. The most depressing part of this documentary was that it does not offer a way forward, no way to extract the US and all other nations from the quagmire that is its deregulated marketplace. There are no figure heads around which people can rally, just a deconstruction of the way in which the world is being destroyed by allowing the financial system such free reign. Despite this and all of the film's flaws Ferguson has made a compelling film that deserves to be watched, if only so that we can begin to question the world around us.