Podcasts of the Week Ending April 7

The Memory Palace :: Junk Room

An examination of the the National Statuary Hall in the US Capitol: who is there and why?

Hub History :: Original Sin: The Roots of Slavery in Boston

The reality of unfree labor in 17th and 18th century Massachusetts.

Code Switch :: The Road to the Promised Land, 50 Years Later

The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. 50 years after his assassination.

Movie Review: Goldman Sachs: The Bank That Rules the World (2012) #atozchallenge

This is my entry for “G” in the Blogging A to Z Challenge. Throughout April I will be watching and reviewing a documentary movie from A to Z. Some other “G” documentaries I’ve reviewed are Galapagos: The Enchanted VoyageThe Gnomistand Gimme Shelter.

TitleGoldman Sachs: The Bank That Rules the World
Release Date: 4 September 2012
Director: Jérôme Fritel and Marc Roche
Production Company: Capa Presse

This French-language documentary explores the role of the investment bank Goldman Sachs in the Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, the Greek Debt Crisis, and other financial scandals.  It also shows the alarming number of Goldman Sachs’ alumni active in the United States government and the European Union council.

This is a movie where the expose style of documentary hurts more than helps.  Goldman Sachs and other financial services industry corporations are almost certainly bad actors in the governments and economies of the world.  But this documentary comes off as a conspiracy theory, and it doesn’t help that none of the people interviewed on screen are ever identified.  There are also cheesy factors such as having interviewees make their first appearance on grainy black & white film as if they were on security cameras and framing the film with digital stock ticker symbols that just make the movie look ridiculous.

What Can One Learn From Watching This Documentary:

There are some interesting details such as former Goldman Sachs people in the government using the financial crisis to punish Goldman Sachs’ competitors at Lehman Bros while bailing out AIG where Goldman Sachs had investments that I learned, but as I noted above it’s hard to parse out the truth from the hyperbolic conspiracy theory vibe.

If You Like This You Might Also Want To …: Watch The Big Short, a docu-drama about the causes of the financial crisis, or a read the book it’s based on.  For a more positive spin on an earlier era of Goldman Sachs, read John Whitehead’s autobiography A Life in Leadership.

Source: I watched this movie on Netflix streaming.

Rating: **