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Inside Job


Stars: Documentary

Director: Charles Ferguson

Writer-director-producer Charles Ferguson describes his often depressingly compelling documentary as a “comprehensive portrayal of an extremely important and timely subject of the worst financial crisis since the Depression, which continues to haunt us via Europe’s debt problems and global financial instability”, adding, “It was a completely avoidable crisis”. You may not agree with the last statement – for instance, no mention is made of British prime minister Gordon Brown’s belief that he "saved the world from economic ruin” - but that apart, Ferguson is mostly right and proves it with a series of fascinating interviews with various characters who manage to emerged rich and unharmed as banks and economic companies crumbled and millions of other were left to lose everything.

After opening with an idyllic sequence of Iceland prior to the collapse of their banking system, Ferguson makes a powerful case against those movers and shakers he deems responsible for the meltdown and includes in his rogues' gallery several American former presidents and the current incumbent who, he says, has done little to ameliorate the situation in which so many Americans trapped with toxic mortgages find themselves. And, in the best tradition of investigative documentaries, Ferguson adds impact by naming and shaming those who refused his invitation to be interviewed.

Unlike self-important documentary moviemaker Michael Moore, Ferguson stays behind the camera, a move that makes his series of sharp interviews all the more fascinating.

Alan Frank

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour.
108 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 0.

Review date: 16 Feb 2011