Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room

Movie Review by Ania Kalinowska

Starring: Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Andy Fastow, Ben Glisan Jr, Sherron Watkins
Director: Alex Gibney

Not many years ago, if you worked at Enron, you were seen as lucky. During its existence, Enron was one of the most seemingly successful companies in the United States. The sensation of the gigantic corporation was like a fairytale of the American Dream and a force to be reckoned with in the free market economy system. But all fairytales must come to an end…and for Enron, this one did not end happily.

This captivating documentary digs deep to put together a description of what happened prior to the Enron bankruptcy and the subsequent consequences thereafter. The footage is excellent – heavyweights are exposed and the facts calculated in a stimulating manner. This is not merely a history of the giant from beginning to end, but also a lesson told by the people involved and those who were affected by the uprising as well as the downfall. The subject matter itself opens up doors to speculation and opinions of the business world on many levels, and reminds us that money does indeed make the world go round – even if that money is not technically there! Fascinating.

The experience of watching this is somewhat muddled by the figures and corporate jargon (sometimes your understanding hangs by a thread), but even that does not stop you from wanting to finish this true story of how a giant can be crushed by the very nature of humankind.

This expose will especially interest those hooked on big businesses and bonds, or those who have read the books published on the subject (for more information on these, the names are featured in the film). For those of you who, like myself, have a limited knowledge of the world of markets and money, this documentary will either endow you with the hunger to learn more (i.e. like BOILER ROOM did for me) or you will come out puzzled. Either way, it’s still a good watch.

4 out of 6 stars