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'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.
For more about Inside Job and the Inside Job Blu-ray release, see Inside Job Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 14, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Narrator: Matt Damon
Director: Charles Ferguson
» See full cast & crew
Inside Job Blu-ray Review
A must-own Documentary.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 14, 2011
The global economic crisis of 2008 cost tens of millions of people their savings, their jobs, and their homes.
In a world of ever-constant breaking news of all sorts -- wars of both bullets and ideas raging all around the world, historically crazy winter weather, massive anti-government protests in one of the most historic nations on the face of the Earth, and untold numbers of atrocities in many countries most people have never even heard of -- there's still only one thing that's an everyday newsmaker: money. The importance of currency in history dates back generations, whether to the days of "Render unto Caesar..." or the arms race against the Soviet Union, money has made and destroyed civilizations, countries, peoples, and ways of life. With money, or the lack thereof, comes comfort or poverty, charity or greed; it can turn a life for the better or make devils of those who seek only its promise of great power and prestige. Though it can't buy love and it can't bring true happiness to an empty soul, its pursuit is forever altering the human and physical geography of the world, the power structure of nations, and the bottom line of families just trying to make ends meet, to keep food on the table, the heat turned on, the gas tank filled, and the mortgage payment delivered on time. Wealth is more than money in the bank, cash stuffed under the mattress, or coins dropped into a jar; the value of one man's hundreds of dollars or the selling price of his modest home depends on any number of external factors beyond his control: banking policies, legislative action, regional unrest, or sudden shifts in political or ecological climates can all adversely or positively effect the bottom lines not of the wealthiest, but of the everyman hoping only to live comfortably and have enough left over to stash away for an unforeseen car repair bill, buy that engagement ring she's been wanting, or to splurge on an evening of entertainment. When the system fails, it's the regular people who suffer the most. Inside Job is a fascinating and generally balanced documentary that attempts to sort out the people and reasons behind the most recent economic upheaval that is not just headlines on the evening news but very real problems that are with every passing day forever transforming the lives and dreams of millions of people who just want to live within their means and go about their lives without having to worry about the business or governmental practices of people with whom they have no real investment, other, of course, than their very way of life.
Inside Job is the story of a burst bubble and the corruption, shady practices, and people who oversaw it and played a part in fomenting the crisis. Neither politician nor business executive is safe from criticism; the film examines the history of the market and the people who are the driving forces behind it, looking at both the big picture and the small events alike that played a part in what was and still is a potentially world-altering financial free-fall. Inside Job takes a peek into entities like AIG, Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and others that played a central role in the economic failure while also looking back at the deregulations of the 1980s, the rise and fall of the tech bubble, the emergence of derivatives into the market, the home loan subprime disaster, the massive increases in Wall Street bonuses, the impact on education, and the varied government responses that have failed to restore balance to the markets. Interviewees include former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, billionaire George Soros, Congressman Barney Frank, Harvard Professor Martin Feldstein, French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, and former New York Governor and current CNN personality Eliot Spitzer, among many other players in the political and economic landscape of the past several decades who have in some way played a part in, for better or for worse, the current economic crisis.
Inside Job isn't the sort of movie that's well-suited for family movie night...or is it? It's not a traditionally entertaining picture, but as something more educational and informative, it's tough to beat, particularly considering the timeliness and here-and-now relevance with which it plays. There's a sprinkling of language which might be a deciding factor on where to screen the film and for whom, but students of economics and government or merely concerned citizens looking for answers to questions that might otherwise seem out of reach and not necessarily well-covered on the local news or that favorite morning stop on the Internet might find quite a bit of value here. Inside Job is certainly honest in its approach and not at all biased, unless a search for the truth and a way out could be considered "biased." Both sides of the isle and various commercial and government entities are grilled, chastised, and called out. Inside Job is, however, a complex film; its relevancy must be met by the viewer's willingness to pay attention, and viewers with little or no background in recent political and economic history might be a little lost, even considering the film's relatively straightforward approach. There's technical terminology and, perhaps even more damaging, plenty of spinning from several interviewees that can occasionally throw one's understanding of the basics off-balance, but the film is ultimately approchable, entertaining, and even at several junctures light in tone which certainly helps to ease in uneasy viewers. Still, there's an edge to the movie that is evident form time to time, an anger, even, at the people, entities, and events which made the movie necessary in the first place, but that's certainly the right approach, it would seem. No sugar-coating things here.
Technically, Inside Job is a fairly straightforward Documentary. As noted it combines an occasionally light and welcoming feel with some truly biting, hard-hitting and revealing insights that give the movie the tone it needs to work. Director Charles Ferguson (No End in Sight) has done a fair job of representing his take on the crisis; there's little in the way of slick editing or any readily apparent evidence of data manipulation to favor his themes. Ferguson plays it straight; there's no agenda here except to uncover the truth, which is a welcome relief from a Documentary genre that over the past decade or so seems to have become home to propaganda pieces -- on both sides -- rather than honest examinations of the topic at hand. Indeed, balance is the key factor in Inside Job, but if it has a fault, it doesn't spend enough time with Everyman, the regular people who have been impacted the most by the crisis. While there are a few fleeting glimpses at Average Joe's down on their luck thanks to the current economic climate, the film is more interested in the hows and the whys more so than the end result down at street level, which is fine seeing as that the film's stated goal is to uncover the truth behind the events and not examine in greater detail the pain and suffering at the bottom of the ladder. To Ferguson's credit, the film wouldn't work as a tearjerker sort, but the argument can be made that coming down from the top a few more times might have had a greater impact on the whole of the story. Otherwise, this is a fine slice of Documentary filmmaking, the best kind, really, because it's not only on the cutting edge of history here in the early months of 2011, but it should withstand the test of time and make for a fine retrospective years, if not decades, from now for students of this period of world history.
Inside Job Blu-ray, Video Quality
Inside Job isn't a movie built to dazzle audiences with visual excess. In that light Sony's steady but not problem-free transfer is more than acceptable. This digitally-shot movie shows some light shimmering and jagged edges on occasion, and it's also a little flat and pasty. Colors occasionally bleed but are generally sound but visually unspectacular. Detail can range from mushy to satisfactory; overhead shots of cities reveal a good amount of visible detail down all the way to street level, and newly-minted interview clips offer crisp definition in faces and clothes. The film is packed with vintage low-definition video and still photographs of varying quality; both exhibit plenty of technical problems but, given that they're presented in their natural state, they do not reflect in the final score. The image softens up a bit at times, but black levels and flesh tones are steady. Noise appears here and there, but excess banding is absent. Again, this is a movie that's not meant to dazzle viewers with its visual prowess; it's far from perfect and not at all visually memorable, but Sony's transfer handles the material well enough for what it is and needs to be.
Inside Job Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Inside Job isn't in the business of dazzling listeners, either. Sony's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is nevertheless quite punchy and satisfying, a solid listen for what one would expect to be a bland and very straightforward listen. The track delivers a surprisingly accurate and clear low end in its delivery of some musical beats and natural rumblings, the former of which add something of a foreboding, almost haunting tone to the film early on. It's a real pace-setter. Popular music plays with a good amount of authority and vigor across the front. Matt Damon's balanced, perhaps even a bit dour, narration is handled expertly through the center channel, though it does play as a bit more deep than do the various interview clips heard throughout the film. Generally, this is a straightforward presentation. Surrounds aren't used in excess, but the back channels do manage to balance things out nicely from time to time. Like the video, this track is not at all memorable, but it gets the job done and serves the movie quite well.
Inside Job Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Inside Job's selection of extra content include a strong audio commentary track, a "making of" piece that's more a companion to the film than anything else, and a series of deleted scenes.
Inside Job Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Inside Job is a smart and relatively easy-to-watch Documentary that's both timely and timeless. An excellent source of up front and hard-hitting information that's not only a must-watch in today's world but a film that will no doubt withstand the test of time and play as an important piece of historical filmmaking decades form now, Director Charles Ferguson's Inside Job is a must-see documentary that's recently been nominated for a Best Feature Documentary Oscar. It stands an excellent chance of deservedly walking away with the statue. Sony's Blu-ray release of Inside Job features a quality 1080p transfer and a decent enough lossless soundtrack. The disc is rounded into form by a nice assortment of extra content. Highly recommended.
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Inside Job Blu-ray, News and Updates
• The 83rd Oscars and Blu-ray - March 1, 2011
After the recent Blu-ray announcement of Black Swan, all of the award-winning English-language feature films at the latest Academy Award ceremony are released or announced on BD – this time including even the feature documentary. The King's Speech (a Weinstein ...
• Inside Job Blu-ray Announced - January 18, 2011
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced Inside Job for Blu-ray release on March 8. This documentary from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Charles Ferguson looks for the truth behind the economic crisis of 2008, through extensive research and interviews ...
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