Too Big to Fail (DVD:HBO Films) ©2011

Rating: 5/5

Summary: This HBO film, based on the book by Andrew Ross Sorkin, chronicles the 2008 United States economic crisis. Screenplay writer Peter Gould clearly illuminates the thought process behind the bank bailout plan and the steps taken by the U.S. government to avert financial disaster. The story begins after the Government allows Leman Brothers to go bust, chronicling the period of financial failure beginning with the collapse of Bear Stearns through the rise of TARP.

Review: This is a story about financial greed. The characters in the story are bankers and government officials. It is through their actions and dialogue that the story’s crisis is revealed. The movie concentrates on how the crisis was averted, one day and bank at a time, rather than why the crisis happened. Actors William Hurt and Paul Giamatti, convincingly portrayed the story’s hero, Henry Paulson Jr., and the doomsayer, Ben Bernanke, respectively. Both characters have done a brilliant job convincing the audience that without immediate intervention, the economy faced imminent collapse. The viewer comes to realize that this impending collapse was brought on by the financial industry’s reckless deregulation and subsequent risk ladened borrowing by consumers. This gluttony brought banks and insurance companies down to their knees as they faced default. As most know, after Lehman Brothers failed, the government steps in to save banks and the country from an economic catastrophe. Mr. Bernanke makes it clear; doing nothing would have catastrophic consequences. The only solution was to create something “Too Big to Fail.”

More Movies Like This: Other films owned by the Lake Bluff Library that address the financial crisis are the Inside Job, and Margin Call. If you enjoyed the movie Too Big to Fail you might try reading Sorkin’s book with the same title and other accounts of the 2008 financial crisis such as Michael Lewis’ The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Bethany McLean’s All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis, Suzanne McGee’s Chasing Goldman Sachs : how the masters of the universe melted Wall Street down– and why they’ll take us to the brink again, and Damon Vickers’ The Day After the Dollar Crashes: a survival guide for the rise of the new world order.

Availability: Sorkin’s book and the DVD based on his nonfiction work as well as the read-a-likes and similar movies are all available at the Lake Bluff Library.

Review by Valerie

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