Thursday, September 3, 2015

"Inside Job" - It isn't funny, but....

Documentary director Charles Ferguson gets audiences to laugh in horror as they watch Wall Street and Washington big-shots twist and squirm

"Inside Job" – It isn’t funny, but….

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If there’s laughter to be found in Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job, a deeply researched and chilling analysis of how the financial meltdown of 2008 happened, and who was responsible, it’s in the scenes in which Ferguson has the culprits on camera.

On camera and squirming.
 
There’s Glenn Hubbard (left photo), chief economic advisor in the Bush administration, and now Dean of Columbia’s Business School, agitated and angry as Ferguson presses him on conflicts of interest and the downside of deregulation. There’s David McCormick, former under secretary at the Department of Treasury, looking like he was bonked by a brick as Ferguson points up one contradiction after another. And there’s Frederic Mishkin (right photo), high-profile economist and Columbia prof – and a guy paid $124,000 by the Icelandic Chamber of Commerce to write a favorable report on the country’s financial health just month’s before its banks collapsed – sweating bullets under tough questioning.
 
“The contentious interviews were the most difficult ones,” says Ferguson, who was nominated for an Oscar for his first doc, No End In Sight. “I knew some of these people personally. But I kept my cool and did my job, even when people were getting very upset, which, obviously, sometimes they did….
 
“I do realize that [the scenes] have some entertainment value. And that’s good. But I should say that I was not entertained when I was doing it. It was not enjoyable, taking these people apart. It was actually, sometimes, a little bit difficult – it was painful.”
Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Reach Steven at srea@phillynews.com.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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