Sunday, June 05, 2011

Too Big to Fail: Grade D


Too Big To Fail (2011)

William Hurt, James Woods, Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, others. Director Curtis Hanson.

This HBO adaptation of journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin’s nonfiction account of the Wall Street meltdown is lifeless. Despite all the big name actors, they all just speak their lines without emotion. Giamatti is made to look a bit like Ben Bernanke, but aside from that, you would need subtitles to tell which actor is supposed to be which real-world player, because without that information, there is no drama. It is just a bunch of stuffed shirts announcing their cryptic lines.

The story centers on Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (Hurt) and his efforts to save Lehman Brothers and then AIG from bankruptcy. But while Hurt, and most of the other players, are fine actors, they have a terrible script, which captures neither the human drama, nor conveys much information. The result is, paradoxically, that one of the most dramatic cataclysms in world financial history comes across as deadly boring.

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