I would have been angrier if I had seen this documentary a few years ago. Having survived the global financial crisis of 2008, I know I am one of the lucky ones. Seeing co-workers being let go, consoling friends who lost their homes to foreclosure, worrying about uninsured family members with health issues; I do not recall ever being so overwhelmed with all the negative news. Every generation grows up with the expectation to have an easier life than the previous group. For the very first time in modern history that is no longer the case. Because the wealthiest group of people make up only a small percentage of the population, the average citizen may not have an understanding of derivatives or credit default swaps; I certainly have no need to pay attention to such things. However, I do know what the words greed, selfish and power hungry mean. This Oscar winning film presented the crisis in laymen’s terms without choosing political sides. Not that I now understand the financial markets any better, but at least I can see how people’s thirst for money and power nearly brought down the world economy. The hardest part was seeing how these people barely suffered the consequences of their actions. Director and writer Charles Ferguson (No End in Sight) did an incredible job piecing together the events that led up to the financial meltdown of 2008. Matt Damon (Promised Land, Contagion) was the narrator, taking us through charts and interviews with politicians, economists, professors and former chairmen to name a few. Now you may think this all sounds like it would be dry and boring to watch; it was not the case. I credit the style of questioning that was done. Interviewees were either asked straightforward questions or requested to comment on their past speeches and published articles. I will say there were times I liked seeing some of these individuals squirm when their past conclusions or actions ran contrary to current facts. There is nothing I can do to change the past; I can only use history as a teaching tool as I try to live each day in a responsible way. It was a shame other people did not have the same idea.
4 stars — DVD