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A Review of Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room

Enron the Smartest Guys In The Room
Credit: PBS

Enron: The Downfall of the Seventh Largest Company in America

This is a documentary-style film that depicts the real-life downfall of the Enron corporation, which was, at one time, the seventh-largest company in the United States of America. A lot of us will probably remember the Enron debacle when it happened in 2001. So, if you want to know more about it, this is the film for you. The documentary is a crime story and shows all the gory details and faulty and corrupt business practices that go on under the scene at Enron. The business, in the end, amounts to not much more than a highly successful Ponzi scheme about a  company that couldn’t get out of debt.

All this meant that it was pretty much inevitable from the start that it was not going to survive, paving the way for the almighty and epic collapse of the business giant. But, not before they raided and stole all the pension pots of the employees, just to buy a little more time. To make things worse, the film reveals how all the execs cleverly managed to keep their riches, screwing the people beneath. The whole scenario from start to finish creates an extremely interesting story, which will draw you as you learn and watch in morbid fascination. It is an emotive and powerful piece and will make you angry and mad. 

The Word “Enron” Has Become Part of Popular Culture

“Enron” has been used to describe other corporate scandals. According to the Motley Fool, “short-seller Citron Research published a report that sent shares reeling — calling Grand Canyon the “Enron of Education.”

The Enron Scandal

The film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room shows the lengths at which some people will go to, to make it seem as if they have it all. It shows you how greed, pride, self-preservation, irresponsibility, and immaturity can be an extremely lethal combination. That they not only ruin the lives of the people concerned but, more widely, the trust people have in the business world altogether. Perhaps that distrust is wise, but it is not altogether healthy. The insights and background you will learn about the win-at-all-costs strategy the masters at Enron employed will keep you enthralled.

The scandal shows how the company lied and lied to make it appear, they were incredibly profitable, while hiding debts, and using the company to loan itself money. Enron went to the extreme of manipulating the energy of California's energy supply using the deregulation of the electricity market. The filmmaker attacks free-market capitalism by saying that the Enron scandal is a natural by-product of this type of system.

The Director, Alex Gibney

Gibney is inspired by investigating corporate scandals. He wants the public to be aware of just how far these people will go to create wealth and protect it at all costs. He shows that the rich one percent are morally bankrupt, and they really do not care. He wants audiences to see that these rich monsters can manipulate the system at large to their own advantage. The rules and regulations only apply to the little people who they squash with impunity and treat with utter disdain.

He holds up a mirror to reality, reflecting the ugly truth, and how once the lies begin in business, they are pretty much impossible to stop. The people who were running Enron were absolutely ruthless, like gangsters, and would stop at nothing. At times California actually had to shut down areas of the energy grid because of them. It is the ultimate story of fraud and deception.

The People Factor

Gibney makes it clear that there is an extreme dichotomy between the boys out on vacation living the life of Riley while happily destroying lives. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a warning for all. It is how power in the hands of the wrong people can cause so much misery. It really should have been used as a precursor to the financial collapse, which happened in the same decade, destroying so many lives.

True crime is a fascinating genre, and this tale has it all. It is fascinating, no doubt, but scary and reveals a deep insight into the nature of humanity. You would like to think that people are not like that, but they are. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a very detailed and in-depth film.

It makes you truly understand what happened on many levels, including all the financial and corruption that went on, along with all the mental and emotional aspects too. It leaves a rotten taste in your mouth, as you know it will happen again. Even with the power of hindsight, we know that it will and already has. Greed is not something that is going to go away, and this film is a perfect example.


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