Despite the high drama of the financial crisis, this documentary, which is full of talking heads, could have been as dry as a balance sheet. It's quite the reverse: funny, sardonic, investigative and gripping. With the added bonus of Matt Damon's dulcet tones providing the narration, this should have appeal way beyond the denizens of Wall Street.
Even Gordon Gekko would have a hard time fathoming exactly what was going when the meltdown spread across the globe in 2008. And he would have baulked at the sheer audacity and greed displayed by companies such as Goldman Sachs who sold their clients completely worthless products and then hedged their bets to make a profit.
Charles Ferguson cast his acerbic eye and camera over the whole business, demonstrating clearly the conflicts of interest between the worlds of high finance and government. And now some of those have crossed the line from financial services to take high office in governmental advisory posts, a trend that doesn't give the populace much cause for confidence.
Although there is a welter of information to take on board, Ferguson manages to keep the message crystal clear as he talks to the whole gamut of players, from hedge fund managers to Justice Department officials and (from the sidelines) the Madame of a brothel and a therapist.
It all might seem on the surface to be some ghastly game gone rampantly wrong, until you recall the salutary effects of the crisis with millions losing jobs and homes. The world is still struggling to recover.
Inside Job neatly makes its appearance on the coat tails of the Wall Street sequel, which is the perfect accompaniment and wake-up call.
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Director: Charles Ferguson
Screenwriters: Chad Beck and Adam Bolt
Producer: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Rating: PG-13 for some drug and sex-related material.
Running time: 120 min
Release date: October 8 LA/NY