In a way, I’m delighted that Inside Job is now available free of charge, for all to see.
And in another way, I’m not.
Because I defy even the most benign among you to reach the end of this documentary feature film analysis of the crash of 2008 without wishing you had a gun.
On the face of it, 108 minutes of talking heads shouldn’t make for an Oscar winner. The drama, however, emanates not from the characters but from their damning words, as the causes and causers of Wall Street’s latest meltdown are nailed emphatically to the wall, in an expose of greed and hubris that will take you beyond anger.
That not one executive nor company has yet been brought to justice for their part in this fiasco raises serious questions about just how much daylight exists between law enforcement and Government in America and leaves we plebs having to savour the film’s minor triumphs of retribution:
1. Mouse-like Columbia Business School Dean Glenn Hubbard’s laughable attempt to go all John Wayne on the interviewer (“Give it your best shot!!!” – at 1:31:55) as he begins to perceive the corner into which he’s being painted. Some men can carry off the all-guns-blazing approach: this isn’t one of them.
2. John Campbell, Chairman of Harvard’s Economics Dept (1:30:05 and 1:32:30) doing the best hapless Brit routine since Bertie Wooster. If I thought this was the sum total of my 15 minutes of fame, I might never leave the house again.
And at the end of what I thought might be a film that merely confirmed what we already suspected, there is a certain sting-in-the-tail. If America’s business and economics academics are as hand-in-hand with these Wall Street geniuses as Inside Job suggests, what’s to say we won’t be back here again in 10 years’ time, when the next batch of college graduates hit the Street?
It’s a sign of just how relentlessly infuriating this film is that its only note of optimism comes if you’re a woman of a certain age, as French finance minister Christine Lagarde ably demonstrates that grey hair need be no bar whatsoever to arousing a certain je ne sais quoi in the opposite sex. If Combe Inc is the next American corporate casualty, it may be the first in a while for which bankers can’t be held responsible.