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Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, surprise, surprise: the movie is outstanding on its own terms and all credit goes to Gibney. While the books focus on unraveling all of Andy Fastow's 'Special Purpose Entities' like the Raptors, LJM, Chewco, etc., Gibney brilliantly focuses on showing us things that are simply better on film: audio recordings of Enron traders jacking the California energy system; a devastated Portland Gas line worker after his 401K has gone to seed; an uncomfortable Skilling getting grilled by a Senate panel while Sherron Watkins glowers at him from 10 feet away; some Enron HR flack urging its employees to put all their 401K money into company stock, etc.
And there are two incredible, spine-tingling moments if you know the Enron story:
- An audio recording of the famous quarterly results analyst call where Skilling loses it and calls an analyst an a------. [The analyst only asked why the company couldn't produce a balance sheet.] Reading Eichenwald's book, you know Skilling is clearly unhinged at this point. For many, this call was the turning point of the great unraveling.
- A secret video recording from Merrill Lynch of Andy Fastow's LJM2 pitch to a bunch of bankers. This is *mesmerizing* stuff. Fastow is front and center in the books, but remains a spooky, off-camera presence in the movie. However, this one piece nails him. He's perpetrating a major fraud with that spiel.Read more ›
First, Arthur Anderson Consulting signed off on "mark to marketing" accounting. In other words, Enron could report their projected earnings as actual profits. They could "report" profits of millions of dollars that they didn't have. They paid bonuses and other excesses with these projections.
Next, Jeff Skilling was hired by Ken Lay to run the operations of the company. Skilling was a man with fresh, or some would say, grandiose ideas. This is just what Lay wanted--a man of vision. Skilling soon instituted promotions and bonuses for traders who produced more than the other guy. Creating a classic cutthroat environment, the producers were given phenomenal bonuses while their less successful counterparts were shown the door. These were all being given on projected earnings.
One rebel market analyst from Merrill Lynch would not give Enron a "strong buy" rating. Skilling contacted Merrill Lynch who promptly fired the errant employee, and Enron gave Merrill Lynch a fifty million dollar contract.
Enter Andy Fastow another Enron executive in the mold of Jeff Skilling who managed to set up dummy corporations which were paying Enron. Several prominent banks knew of the scheme and went along with it. (You may even have your money in one of them.)
Another Enron executive, named Pi was an executive cuthroat who knew his predilections and his limits. He left the company after making $250,000,000 and married his pregnant, stripper girlfriend.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have watched this production at least a dozen times and it never ceases to amaze me at the level of corruption that was in Enron. Read morePublished 21 hours ago by An Accounting and Finance Professor
My students love this excellent film, recommended by my cousin Kristin Krueger Mueller, who used it with her Graduate Business students.Published 6 days ago by sarahwiser merrillee
This is one of my favorite documentaries and I can't really explain why. The stories of the Enron executives' hubris and denial are unreal. Read morePublished 8 days ago by GBlack
Of all of the videos and literature on the topic this video is extraordinary and a stand out.Published 24 days ago by Amazon Customer
Great movie, the woman who made this movie is an amazing talent who perfectly encapsulates the timeline and significance of the Enron events in this riveting piece.Published 1 month ago by Mark M