Exploring the Causes and Consequences of the 2008 Financial Crisis

Documentary on 2008 Financial Crisis

The financial crisis of 2008 had a serious impact on the economy. It led to the loss of millions of jobs and homes. The crisis was caused by the indiscriminate expansion of the finance sector without proper regulation.

These documentaries explore the root causes of the 2008 crisis. They also examine the responsibilities of the people involved in this catastrophe.

Too Big to Fail

Based on a New York Times bestseller, this film traces the near collapse of Wall Street and the federal government’s mammoth financial response. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (Hanks) and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are among the powerful players featured in this dramatization of events that threatened a global economic meltdown.

William Hurt, Ben Affleck and the rest of the cast deliver compelling performances. A classic scene features Paulson locking the chairmen of large banks in a conference room until they agree to accept TARP funds.

TBTF refers to the notion that certain corporations, particularly financial institutions, are so vital to a country’s economic health that they must be protected from failure because the consequences to the nation would be too severe. This film rekindles the debate on how much risk is acceptable in a free society. It also raises the question of whether the brash greed and reckless behavior that took place in the boardrooms of Wall Street and at the offices of Washington, D.C., have direct repercussions on the daily lives of families like yours.

Margin Call

A tense, coolly absorbing drama set on the last night of Wall Street prosperity, Margin Call takes place at a fictional investment firm where drastic damage-control measures are underway. This is the directorial debut of screenwriter J. C. Chandor, who has made documentaries and commercials but this is his first feature.

The movie doesn’t demonize any of its characters, nor does it absolve them of their sins. Instead, it reveals, without judgment or anger, how our financial crisis came about from a combination of human greed, hubris and myopia.

The film’s chief strength is its cast, with relative newcomer Zachary Quinto holding his own among screen veterans Kevin Spacey and Stanley Tucci. But the movie is also monologue-choked and prone to oversimplifying financial jargon into meaningless stalemate. Ultimately, it fails to prove that a fictional story can explain the meltdown’s causes better than a documentary. But it’s an admirable effort. For that reason alone, it deserves a look.

The Big Short

The Big Short, directed and co-written by Adam McKay (Anchorman, Talladega Nights), is both a righteous condemnation of fraud and a black comic romp with cool amoral dudes and rebellious outsiders. The film is based on Michael Lewis’ best-selling book about the financial crisis.

The movie stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling as investors who saw the coming disaster. They guessed that mortgage-backed securities were a house of cards that would collapse when the housing market imploded, and they made millions betting against them.

During a visit to Washington in January, director McKay and some of his cast spoke about the film. They used vivid and colloquial ways to explain complex financial terms and tools, including collateralized debt obligations, tranches, and mortgage-backed securities. They also touched on the need to keep the public informed about greed and the causes of financial crises.

The Warning

The 2008 global financial crisis was the most severe economic event since the Great Depression. Predatory lending, reckless risk-taking by banks, the bursting of the United States housing bubble and many other factors combined into a perfect storm that led to catastrophic losses for everyone. Inside Job lucidly explains how these events happened and shows finance professionals how to identify potential crises.

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