The documentary “Inside Job” provides a thrilling account of why the global recession really happened

If you thought that documentaries couldn't possibly have the narrative urgency of feature films, think again. The Oscar-nominated “Inside Job”, written and directed by Charles Ferguson, is a documentary that keeps you as much at the edge of your seat as any good political thriller. What's more, this one is a true story.

Using interviews, taped recordings and depositions and historical data, “Inside Job” — with Matt Damon as narrator — tells us how the Global Recession of 2008-09 wasn't the result of a series of accidents or mistakes or even hubris; rather, it falls into the category of criminal fraud on a massive scale, perpetrated by a greedy few.

Many of us wondered how a bunch of small-time, prospective homeowners in America who took subprime loans could almost destroy the world's economy. Ferguson explains how — in jargon-less language, and as a logical chain of events that makes it easy even for non-financial people to follow.

The bubble bursts

The film shows us that those in the know were aware the booming financial market was a bubble; yet they were selling products they privately called “junk” — or worse — to trusting clients.

It emerges how huge amounts of money were spent on vices such as drugs and prostitutes, and written off as expenses.

The mounting greed eventually killed the goose that laid the golden eggs, but the goose-killers walked away with the eggs they had already collected — massive bonuses, salaries, golden handshakes.

Sadly, everyone is implicated, not just the bankers — the rating agencies who should have blown the whistle; politicians and their advisors who regrettably come from the world of finance; and even the academics, who spin doctor the uglier truths of an unregulated market through very worthy-sounding papers. We are still living with the fallout from the crisis; everyone is affected, from migrant workers in China to pensioners in the U.S.

The film does push the buttons of moral outrage, but it backs it up with coherent reasoning. If the film has left cinemas near you, keep it in mind as one of today's must-see video rentals.