Sunday, March 5, 2006

Review – Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

In some ways this is an interesting story. On the surface Ken Lay and his cronies appear to have pulled the biggest con job in history. These guys built a huge house of cards, painted over it with government connections, and then ran for the hills with their pockets well lined when the whole mess finally collapsed. And fortunately for the documentary-makers who would follow, they left a copious paper and videotape record in their wake. However, the farther I got into the movie the more I began to suspect that the crimes committed by Enron’s executives were neither as unique nor as scandalous as the audience was being led to believe. The use of creative accounting techniques to perpetrate a fraud on investors might not be all that widespread, but neither profit from corporation-created misery nor close relationships between wealth and government is at all uncommon in our society. I can’t very well fault the film-makers for not pursuing an indictment of all the corruption in American capitalism, but they nonetheless failed to sufficiently distinguish Enron from Haliburton or GE or any of the legion of huge bloodsuckers coddled by our economy and our legal system. Also, the off-the-rack music on the soundtrack is often more intrusive than it should be. Shortcomings notwithstanding, this was a better movie than at least a couple of other productions in the running for the Best Documentary Oscar, including the movie that won. [Supplemental note: they got convicted! Yay! Then Ken Lay croaked over, so now it’s between him and God.] Mildly amusing

No comments:

Post a Comment