Film explores the people behind financial collapse
This month’s Bowen Island Film Society presentation is Inside Job, an Oscar-winning documentary  about the most recent world financial crisis, written and directed by Charles Ferguson, and narrated by Matt Damon.
Many of the names are familiar to me: Nouriel Roubini and George Soros being the two most notorious whistler-blowers among many interviewed and quoted here. I’m inclined to think that those who would most benefit from a viewing of this film is the 20-something demographic, which is, of course, the demographic least likely to attend a BIFS screening. To that end, I was encouraged to see that the CD included a ‘study guide’ for further reading. This is important stuff.
The film documents the way in which progressive deregulation of financial controls resulted in runaway abuses in the housing and investment markets, culminating in the massive collapse in 2008-09 from which we are still recovering. The scenes in which the politicians grill the representatives of various too-big-to-fail banks and investment houses are amusing and sickening at the same time. The banksters take ‘disingenuous’ to a whole new level; it has to be seen to be believed. At the same time, one can’t escape the nagging feeling that the politicians are indulging in a fair bit of political posturing for the benefit of their constituents - where were they when the deregulation laws were passed, one wonders?
And perhaps this is the strongest implied message one takes away from this film: the way in which EVERYONE was complicit in these goings-on: the shysters on Wall street, government, the bond-rating agencies, and, yes, the humble citizens who accepted too-good-to-be-true mortgage terms and stock market returns without pausing to recall the time-honoured adage, dating from at least Roman times, ‘caveat emptor’. I have a little bit of trouble with the idea, espoused by this film, that there are really any innocents involved here, including you and me. We have met the enemy and he is us -- us at our most greedy and self-serving.
Inside Job screens on Saturday, April 30 at 7:30 pm at Collins Hall. The running time is 120 minutes. Rated PG13 for mention of some of Wall Street’s drug and sex-related antics. Doors and concession open at 7 pm.
Ten percent of all door admissions are donated to the Bowen Island Community Hall and Arts Centre fund.
Michael Epp, Bowen Island Film Society