Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Inside Job (Brockway)

Tropic sprockets by Ian Brockway 
Inside Job

"Inside Job" is an expose detailing the economic meltdown of 2008 when the banks were deregulated.  The film begins in Iceland. Iceland  is portrayed as an utopia of sorts. There is a high standard of living, unemployment is low and the landscape is environmentally sound. The small houses are so quaint you might think that this might be another Stieg Larsson mystery. But no, this is a true tale. The banks invaded. Big loans were given. The environment was compromised and then people lost their jobs. Iceland went bankrupt.

Then the film goes to America. To New York City. Wall street. Predatory lending. What follows is a virus of greed. An H1N1 of the economy. It is a sequence of dominoes falling. As the screen shows towering skyscrapers posed like claustrophobic  monoliths, the song "Big Time" is played as Wall Street executives sometimes hmm and haw and stumble, but mostly stick up for themselves and for their bonuses. The executives interviewed stall the questions and evade questions with such constancy that "Inside Job" at times seems like a "Saturday Night Live" political parody. The arrogance is so unabashed.
At one point an exec says, "I realize foolishly now that I have given you my time. You have three minutes and your time is almost up. So give me your best shot!" He snarls at the interviewer. His face is red with anger. 
Through the film, we learn that banks were in the process of deregulation through the Reagan, Clinton, Bush and even so far, with the Obama administration. According to the film, greed is non-partisan. The virus of wanting more and more and more is an indiscriminate disease. Bill Clinton hired an exec in favor of deregulation, Larry Summers,  and Obama has followed. Oh woe to any devout partisan!
My favorite part of the film is the brief questioning of a New York call girl, a Ms. Davis, who said she personally went out with many Wall Street men from Lehman Brothers to Goldman Sachs on down. According to her, she has seen members from every firm. She is sparkling and glossed in hot pink. This could be a bit from John Waters' "A Dirty Shame". I wonder if Charlie Sheen is a day trader on the side? 
 Mme Lagarde, Minister of Economic Affairs, is interviewed in a room with what appears to be gold leaf furniture and she seems sincerely concerned by the Economic crisis. But the choice in decor seems also a bit John Watery, under the circumstances. There is truth in humor.
Also mentioned in the film is the carnivorous fact that some of the subprime mortgages went to those who could not speak English and were targeted. With not a thought to whether they could make a payment. 
At the end of the film foreclosure notices litter Florida lawns like post-it notes. And Matt Damon, gives a solemn call to change as The Statue of Liberty fills the screen with her green solidity. Her impassive face challenges the camera, and all of us beyond the screen.

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