Review: Inside Job DVD

STUDIO: Sony | DIRECTOR: Charles Ferguson
RELEASE DATE: 3/8/11 | PRICE: DVD $34.95, Blu-ray $28.95
BONUSES: commentary, deleted scenes, featurette; BD adds additional deleted scenes
SPECS: PG-13 | 120 min. | Documentary | 2.34:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

Inside Job movie scene

Of course, it's not their fault: Wall Street executives do some explaining in documentary Inside Job.

Inside Job, the winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film for the 2010/2011 Oscar season, is well-deserving of all the acclaim, attention and awards it has been receiving over the past months. Directed by Charles Ferguson (who helmed the Oscar-nominated No End in Sight), Inside Job is an insightful documentary that provides a clear-cut, easy-to-comprehend examination of the financial crisis of 2008, the affects of which we are still feeling today.

Narrated by Matt Damon (The Informant!), Ferguson’s film breaks down the complexities of the financial systems, and you begin to understand the many things that went wrong, particularly the increasingly cozy relationship between politicians and financial insiders. As one talking head describes it, the “Wall Street government” has led to deregulation of the financial sector, which in turn has caused such creative investments as derivatives and other high-risk financial actions, particularly the sub-prime mortgage loans.

Fortune senior editor Allan Sloan weighs in on sub-prime mortgage loans, in which such banking and security firms as Goldman Sachs would make home loans to people who put down less than 1% of their mortgage. “It’s utterly mad,” Sloan declares.

The film also looks at how corruption has entered academia, as professors at esteemed universities are paid hefty sums of money to write favorable financial reports. One of the highlights of Inside Job finds Ferguson grilling Frederic Mishkin, a professor at the Columbia Business School and the governor of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2008. Mishkin had written a report on the financial stability of Iceland, which suffered a devastating financial crisis in 2008 and continues to struggle today. How could an economist like Mishkin write such an erroneous report? Because he was paid to do so.

Carefully organized and presented for maximum clarity and impact, Inside Job will have viewers feeling outraged and shocked by the wrongdoings of Wall Street, which means the movie is accomplishing its goal. It’s a scary documentary, and you certainly wish it was fiction.

The DVD’s bonus materials begins with a commentary by Ferguson and producer Audrey Marrs, who spend a good deal of time talking about the filmmaking behind the project — how they created Inside Job‘s structure, how they attempted to energize some of the less visually exciting moments, and so on.

There’s also a making-of featurette that covers more of the same and a collection of nine deleted scenes, including one with Eliot Spitzer, New York’s former Governor and Attorney General.


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About Cheryl

Cheryl Cheng reviewed DVD and Blu-ray titles for Video Business magazine and has a special place in her heart for foreign and independent films.