DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 49min
DIRECTED BY: Charles Ferguson
Street wall v Wall Street: graffiti, New York
The 2008 global economic meltdown cost tens of millions of people everything they had. Starting out with Iceland, in hock in ’08 for $87 billion after financial deregulation in 2000, director Charles Ferguson and a posse of experts re-examine the debacle. It was essentially caused, as narrator Matt Damon explains, “by an out-of-control [financial] industry.” So while the top tier of such firms as Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, AIG and Countrywide grew obscenely richer, the investors at the bottom of the heap were locked into “predatory” high-interest loans they could not repay — subprime mortgages being a key example — and lost the lot in wildly unstable markets.
None of this is revolutionary, and talk of collateral-debt obligation and credit-default swaps is a head-scratcher for the fiscally clueless, ahem. But the thrust of Ferguson’s exposition — of greedy, prostitute-patronising weasels running massive risks to make yet more money for themselves at the expense of those they profess to serve — is a vital statement of record that leaves no squandered dollar unturned.