movie film review | chris tookey

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

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  Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room Review
Tookey's Rating
7 /10
Average Rating
7.63 /10

Directed by: Alex Gibney
Written by: Alex Gibney. Based on the book, The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron, by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind.

Released: 2005
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 110

Chilling and timely documentary about corporate greed.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Capitalism may be the only economic system we have, but itís always open to abuse by the greedy and inhumane. Alex Gibneyís cautionary, and more-or-less chronological, study of the Enron collapse is an eye-opening account of arguably the biggest confidence trick in history.

Whatever your view of Enron boss Kenneth Way (pictured), itís staggering that Enron was able to invent imaginary profits year after year, without being rumbled by accountants, bankers, analysts or, indeed, journalists.

There is something genuinely chilling in hearing the voices of Enron traders deliberately creating electricity shortages in California to drive up their profits Ė one is to be heard crowing that heíll be able to retire by the age of thirty.

Equally, itís hard not to be angered that so many executives from Americaís seventh-largest company escaped with huge payoffs worth over a billion dollars, while investors and pensioners whose companies had been taken over by Enron lost their life-savings.

Opponents of globalization in general and George Bush in particular will find plenty here to fuel their hostility.

But whatever your politics, this carefully researched, admirably lucid and sadistically ironic documentary can hardly fail to disturb. As it exposes layer after layer of avarice, corruption and amorality, hiding behind a bland corporate facade, it turns into not only the darkest of black comedies, but also the nastiest horror story of the year.

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