FILM REVIEW The truth behind the housing bubble

Inside Job is an eye-opening documentary about the 2008 financial crisis

Inside Job

Directed by Charles Ferguson

Narrated by Matt Damon

The documentary Inside Job by former MIT graduate Charles Ferguson ’89 explains the background of the global financial crisis. It features profound background research and several interviews with insiders of the financial world, academics and politicians. Matt Damon supported the documentary as narrator.

In 2007, the collapse of the so-called “housing bubble” caused massive problems within the United States banking system and triggered a global financial crisis. This event led to a globally plummeting stock market and several bank bailouts by the U.S. government.

It is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in the 1930s and has caused a loss of 30 million jobs worldwide according to International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The unimaginable gravity of this crisis is humorously expressed in full title of Charles Ferguson’s film, which is Inside Job: The Film That Cost Over $20,000,000,000,000 to Make.

During the opening minutes of the film, Iceland is presented as a case study for the US American financial crisis: Deregulation of the banking sector caused unrestrained speculations that brought the former prosperous country close to a national bankruptcy. Journalist Andri Magnason makes it very clear: “Finance took over and wrecked the place,” she says.

The focus of the documentary then shifts to the 2008 bank collapse in the United States to demonstrate that the same problems caused a similar crisis though on a much larger scale in the US, ultimately leading to a global economical crisis.

Inside Job is well structured and soberly narrated. It is divided into six chapters starting with a description of the deregulation of the banking sector in the 1980s (“How We Got Here”) to revealing the connections between the crisis and the current Obama government (“Accountability”). Ferguson presents interviews with many insiders of the banking sector, governments or academics and reveals many facts by his smart off-screen enquiries. Furthermore, Inside Job uses examples of previous financial crises to demonstrate that the 2008 banking collapse was not only predictable but also avoidable. But Ferguson never blames capitalism or starts any kind of ideological debate. He himself made his money as an Internet software entrepreneur and profited from our financial system.

Inside Job is not a dry documentary or economics lecture, but fortunately, it is not a sensational but doubt-worthy Michael Moore-style documentary either. Instead, Ferguson stays entirely factual with almost scientific accuracy throughout the entire movie. He lets the facts build up and as the absurdity of the situation that caused the financial meltdown becomes clearer and clearer, it actually triggers many unbelieving laughs in the audience.

Inside Job is not only well investigated — it is also very well crafted. The film — despite being a documentary — is much more entertaining and captivating than many of the latest blockbusters. It will make you laugh, rage with anger, shake your head and even inspire you by laying out the truths behind the financial jargon .

Inside Job teaches the backgrounds of one of the major historical events of the past decade in a very entertaining way. You learn about credit default swaps and other financial innovations that led to the market’s downfall.

Ferguson presents a masterpiece documentary and thus a great example for the power of cinema. This eye-opening documentary is a must see for our generation and hopefully a wake-up call as well.