Enron - The Smartest Guys in the Room [Blu-ray]
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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 had no idead that the depth if this corruption was so deep. The total disregard for the people that lost their life savings was veey hard to watch.Published 3 days ago by kEMBA
Great documentary, gives so much insight to such an important series of events in this country.Published 1 month ago by Matthew Cope
Understand American business -- lies galore which continue to be public policy.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A well done documentary that shares the story of Enron and the greed that overtook the company. I thought this was a well edited and enjoyed the music selections.Published 2 months ago by April Lara
If the book upon which this is based it to be credited for its depth and detail, this movie must be faulted for its lack thereof. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Gene Parmesan