By Marilyn M. Barnewall
March 25, 2011

A Film for All Seasons

Regardless of how little or how much you think you understand the current financial crisis, make plans to see the movie ‘Inside Job’ while it is still playing in theaters – or, the DVD is now available (see below). The film will mesmerize, horrify and stun you as it explains what caused the pain and suffering through which so many Americans have lived.

‘Inside Job’ begins with New York’s skyline scrolling across your movie screen – and then proceeds to take on the bankers behind the financial crisis. It is an excellent explanation of the terrorist attack against America’s economy, featuring research and extensive interviews with financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics.

The term ‘inside job’ is defined as a crime committed by a person holding a position of trust. The film was written, directed and produced by Charles H. Ferguson, who describes his movie as reflective of "the systemic corruption of the United States by the financial services industry and the consequences of that systemic corruption."

On the downside of the film, as a commercial banker, I find it offensive that Ferguson doesn’t distinguish between investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and J.P. Morgan Chase – the troublemakers – versus the First National Bank of Main Street. Most non-bankers don’t understand the difference – but when you’re filming a movie to inform the public, it’s usually a good idea to get informed. It was the unlawful acts of investment banks that caused the crisis, not those of your community’s commercial banks.

In this movie, you will find risk taking, impulsive decisions involving trillions of your tax dollars, cocaine, prostitution – and that’s just one day on Wall Street. When, in an interview, Ferguson is asked, “Why wasn’t a more intense investigation undertaken?