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Too Big to Fail (2011)

Paul Giamatti , Ed Asner  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Giamatti, Ed Asner, James Woods, William Hurt
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: Unknown
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: June 12, 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004EPYZDA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,402 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Too Big to Fail" on IMDb

Special Features

Timeline of a Crisis: An in-depth look at pivotal events that impacted the economic crisis

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Anyone with a significant amount of money invested in the U.S. financial markets might want to consider other strategies after seeing Too Big to Fail, a meticulously detailed account of the months in 2008 when not only America's economy but the whole world's was on the brink of an apocalyptic meltdown. Made for HBO, director Curtis Hanson's film boasts one of the more impressive casts in recent memory (William Hurt, James Woods, Paul Giamatti, Billy Crudup, Edward Asner, Topher Grace, Matthew Modine, Bill Pullman, Tony Shalhoub, Cynthia Nixon… the list is long and star studded), with Hurt especially effective as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the central figure here. Having already presided over the collapse and sale of the investment banking giant Bear Stearns, Paulson was faced with a similar crisis when Lehman Brothers, another investment banker, saw its stock price tumble and its clients depart in droves--the result of the lack of government regulation and the purchase of new homes by many people who could not in fact afford them, among other factors. Paulson's attempts to oversee a private sale of the over-leveraged company failed, leading Lehman to bankruptcy; others, like American International Group (AIG), would soon have followed had not the government intervened with an 11th-hour bailout. The movie presents a great deal of information and an enormous amount of data, but Hanson and screenwriter Peter Gould (working from Andrew Ross Sorkin's book), while hardly sympathetic to the financial wheeler-dealers who got us into this mess, do a good job of keeping it all straight; and although we know how it turned out, the story is surprisingly gripping and tense, with brilliant performances by Giamatti (as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke) and Crudup (as banker-economist Timothy Geithner) in particular. With the 2008 presidential election looming, most of us were unaware of how close the global economy came to complete failure, but by the end of Too Big to Fail, we are left with the sobering realization that most of our money exists merely on paper--no bank could possibly cover its investors if they all wanted to liquidate at the same time. So perhaps putting a stash of cash in the mattress or a coffee can buried in the back yard isn't such a bad idea after all. --Sam Graham

Product Description

Based on the bestselling book by Andrew Ross Sorkin, Too Big To Fail offers an intimate look at the epochal financial crisis of 2008 and the powerful men and women who decided the fate of the world’s economy in a matter of a few weeks. Centering on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, the film goes behind closed doors to examine the symbiotic relationship between Wall Street and Washington.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
In the realm of made-for-TV movies, there is no question that HBO has been leading the way with critically acclaimed and Emmy nominated fare within recent years. Why? They simply have made an effort to be a prestige label and to support and produce edgier, more sophisticated entertainment--oftentimes projects that you can't imagine any other network or studio championing. Turning Andrew Ross Sorkin's provocative chronology "Too Big To Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System--and Themselves" into a film version seemed like a somewhat dubious idea. Financial crisis as entertainment isn't the most comfortable notion, and yet the story is rife with drama and intrigue. Curtis Hanson's (L.A. Confidential) riveting docu-drama chronicles the pivotal period in 2008 where the United States, and indeed the world, faced an insurmountable financial collapse. As we still feel the devastating repercussions and are still exposed to the some of the same risk, this makes "Too Big To Fail" a must-see project for serious minded and adult audiences.

Centered around Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson (William Hurt, who we will be seeing around Emmy time), the film charts the period when Lehman Brothers was spiraling into bankruptcy and how the government's decision not to bail them out exacerbated a worldwide crisis with AIG. Like a house of cards, the tenuous balance of the economic system was in danger of toppling unless some major moves and compromises could be made. Introducing a huge cast of characters, the narrative puts Paulson at the center of the action as he wrestles to maintain an overall financial stability. As a dramatic recreation and interpretation of events, this plays as a blow-by-blow thriller.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning! July 13, 2011
Format:DVD
This is a must see... along with Inside Job.

The story is incredible... One caution: it's tough to keep all the players straight. I had to watch it a number of times in order to follow the cast of characters. You'll need to have time when you can concentrate to watch it.

It's a tale of tumbling dominos.... you'll be shocked at how the key players were not at all in front of what was happening. The story is incredible, complemented by excellent acting and a great cast.

Inside Job gives a longer term view of some of the same players (please see my review)... and their relationships before, during, and after the crisis. Shocking!

I hope this is helpful.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars way to big June 4, 2011
Format:DVD
Great film. Anyone that has money invested needs to watch this film. I have it saved on my DVR so I can show everyone this film. There was very little party lines and for some they just want to blame Bush for everything or now Obama. But in the movie there is very little about the president. A very great cast. The true story had me from the first minute. I can say I am happy that HBO did not go to the Republican and Democrats. Very Very Good.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"Wall street has a gambling problem and the government keeps covering thier losses. They never learn anything." In 2008 the United States economy began to crumble. Bank after bank began to fail and Lehman Brothers (the 4th largest) was on the ropes. Secretary of Treasury Hank Paulson (Hurt), Federal reserve chairman Ben Bernanke (Giamatti) and New York Fed President Tim Geithner (Crudup) all are working to try and save it. They more they find out the worse it gets and they are left with a decision to save the country or the bank. But the answer isn't as easy as it sounds. I know what your thinking. Another movie about this, hasn't there been enough? Normally I would agree but this one had Paul Giamatti so I had to watch it. This one stands far above the other ones made about the crisis and also is pretty impressive in the way it is presented. This movie made the crisis and the reasons for what was done simple enough for me to understand. Unlike the others this one is about how the government handled it and not the Wall Street CEO's which is why I didn't want to throw stuff at the TV as much. This movie was all the more impressive in the way that it really made the government the good guy in this whole mess and made you side with them. Which is almost impossible to do these days. This to me has been the best movie made about the crisis. Overall, if you watch one movie about the meltdown and the economic crisis make it this one. I recommend this. I say A.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Work in the Industry - Informative & Entertaining January 8, 2012
Format:DVD
I have had friends ask me to explain credit default swaps (CDS). In Too Big To Fail (TBTF) it was the first time, including the Congressional Hearings, where I have ever heard CDS's explained in layman terms.

I am the first to admit that I find non-fiction much more palatable when wrapped around a good story. What TBTF does is to almost perfectly cast a star studded ensemble around a really good story.

I loved the characterizations of John Mack by Tony Shalhoub ("Cover your ears. Tell Tim Geithner to bl.w me!"), Lloyd Blankfein by Evan Handler ("You are stepping out of a limo going to the Federal Reserve and not a Higgins Boat storming Omaha Beach" and Jim Wilkinson by Topher Grace ("and we all know how well the Post Office works!"). Honorable mention to James Woods (Dick Fuld) & Billy Crudup (Tim Geithner).

IMHO, the real value of TBTF is in it's illustration of the multiple levels of incompetence:

1.) Despite having more employees than many private sector corporations, neither the Treasury, Federal Reserve or SEC knew that the British Banking Regulators had to approve any merger by Barclay's. BTW, this oversight was further compounded by Treasury steadfastly refusing to backstop Lehman for the 30-days it would take for a Barclay's share holder vote

2.) Dick Fuld walking into a meeting with a Korean bank that had already agreed to take a stake in Lehman sans their "toxic: real estate. Fuld wanted the suitor to take another look at the real estate, which caused a loss of "face" and killed the deal

3.) See #1. Not knowing how long it would take to enact the proposed toxic asset buy back program (AKA "Cash for Trash")

4.
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