At The Theater #45: Inside Job

As soon as Shades of Ray ended, I hopped on the subway into Manhattan on a far too crowded for 9:45 AM A train to catch my first movie at the theater for the day, Inside Job at the Angelika Film Center.

I really like seeing movies at the Angelika. I think this has a lot too do with the ground level café area, which is strange because I think that café is overpriced. But it’s a nicer place to wait for friends than most movie theater lobbies. I’m flying solo today, so instead I found it a nice place to walk through on my way to the downstairs theater.

The three person audience for the 10:45 AM screening of Inside Job was a nice cross section of viewers. There was me, a female NYU student and an old man who claimed after to movie to have worked for one of the investment banks featured in Inside Job, “though long before any of this went down” he was quick to point out.

Waiting for Inside Job to start, I popped open Flixster on my iPhone and experienced something that would occur at the start of three of the four movies I saw in the theater today; I would regret seeing this movie instead of another in the same time slot. It happened here when I saw that I Love You, Phillip Morris was playing at 10:35 AM at Clearview’s Chelsea. I’ve wanted to see that for the past few weeks and cursed myself, thinking that a comedy would be a better way to start the day than a sure to be depressing documentary about the 2008 financial crisis.

This regret passed quickly. Inside Job should be on everyone’s must-watch list. It’s bound to frustrate you and infuriate you, but you need to see it. It’s the Food Inc. of the financial industry. Unfortunately for us, unlike Food, Inc., which ended with some hope, Inside Job shows us how the financial industry screwed us and why it’s bound to happen again. It also explains terms you probably heard on the news, but never had explained, like what exactly a credit default swap is.

It amazes me that in the wake of the two financial crises that bookended the last decade that there isn’t an outcry for stronger financial regulations. But the financial industry has its fingers in so many pies, that better regulation seems unlikely. Inside Job shows not only how powerful the industry’s lobby group is in Washington, but even their hold on business education in America. The same professors who are teaching ideas that fall in line with the way the financial industry thinks are serving on the boards of major corporations. Conflict of interest?

The most egregious part of Inside Job is that no one involved in the economic collapse in 2008 will even admit that mistakes were made by their companies. The fear of lawsuits and any culpability make interviewing these people pointless.

Matt Damon is a great as the narrator. His voice is the only part of Inside Job that won’t piss you off. It’s a nice anchor in the storm.

Inside Job is the scariest movie of 2010. Make sure you see it.