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An impressive doco that doesn't tell the whole story and treats some politicos and execs in either a too dark or too heroic light . Two examples:
1. It doesn't quite explain why government would have wanted to appoint/re-appoint the culprits. There was something more at work than just corruption, kickbacks and slack regulation. One has to remember that almost all the key players including Greenspan and three US Presidents thought that making housing within the reach of more people was good policy. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were quasi-governmental agencies charged precisely with raising the numbers of subprime mortgages. Stopping them at the time would have looked like political suicide, since the government policy was popular with voters. (The policy in fact goes back as far as President Roosevelt and the New Deal.)
Similarly, complex financial derivatives like CDOs and CD swaps were thought in fact to offer protection against catastrophic loss and systemic instability. So the "system" offered incentives and rewards including positions of political and financial influence. It's also quite normal business practice to "bet against" the financial product you're selling someone else. If you're going to play the derivatives market, this is something you learn at the outset. It's exactly what hedge funds are set up to do.
2. Congressman Barney Frank comes across in a fairly rosy light as a kind of whistleblower, and isn't subjected to the kinds of cross-examination most of the other "culprits" were.. The doco didn't dwell too long - if at all - on Frank's involvement in Fannie Mae etc., as one of the principal architects and benefiters of subprime mortgage securitization.
One day the whole fucking mess will collapse in on itself and real people with real needs will once again be on an equal footing with these blood suckers. It may take a long time, but it will happen.
While the film treats its subject matter in anything but a fair way, it does nonetheless succeed in making its central argument of theft and needed reform quite convincing. The film-maker knew his material inside and out and made most of it quite clear. This is not however a film that is easy to follow for those with no prior experience in the field, I would say.
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #39 in IMDb's Documentary Top 50
This movie ranks #162 in Sight & Sound's The Greatest Documentaries of All Time
This movie ranks #462 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films