Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Based on the best seller “The Smartest Guys in the Room”, “Enron” describes the downfall of one of the biggest companies in the US at that time. We get interviews combined with archived footage and re-enactments of actual events that happened. While the top managers at the company received millions of dollars in bonuses, they were leading the company – which was largely built on air to be honest – to its imminent destruction and in the meantime they left thousands of people hang out to dry. This documentary shows how they managed to do it and how they could get away with most of the things they did until at the very end when the bubble burst.
Sound and Vision:
The image quality of the real footage is truly below standard but that’s to be expected from a documentary. The interviews and scenes specifically created for this doc are on the other hand of impeccable quality.
The sound comes with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack which is a bit over the top as there are no effects and we get purely dialogue with a bit of atmospheric music (not too much though). The track does its job nicely though.
Director Alex Gibney has done a pretty good job with Enron, making it a fascinating documentary that’s built up very well and nicely shows how top management did everything they could to increase their personal gain and how they managed to get things done thanks to connections with the Bush government. Most shocking is that when the company was already going downhill, chairman of the board Ken Lay dropped in the office of Enron’s CEO Jeff Skilling. He didn’t come over to check on business or to see where things could be set right but instead he wanted to know which type of leather he should use for the interior of the new company jet. Although Enron is quite fascinating to watch, as with so many documentary makers also Alex Gibney doesn’t manage to stay neutral. He clearly pumps up the links between Enron and the Republicans and even goes so far as to linking Enron’s demise to the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California. Still, this subjective part aside, Enron is a very good documentary to watch so you can find out how the “American Dream” can become an exploding bubble or air.
Paradiso delivers a pretty standard package that does its job but nothing extraordinary.