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The Flaw

3.5 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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(Apr 17, 2012)
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Product Description

Product Description

Today, a question haunts America: what exactly caused the world s greatest economy to crash and burn? And why is it so slow to recover?

From award-winning documentarian David Sington (In the Shadow of the Moon), THE FLAW tells the story of the credit bubble that caused the financial crash through interviews with some of the world s leading economists, including housing expert Robert Shiller, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and economic historian Louis Hyman, as well as Wall Street insiders and victims of the crash. More topical than ever, the film presents an original and compelling account of the toxic combination of forces that nearly destroyed the world economy, demonstrating how excessive income inequality leads to economic instability.

At a time when economic theory and public policy is being re-examined, this film reminds us that, without addressing the root causes of the crisis, the system may collapse again... and next time it may not be possible for governments to rescue it.


A lively, iconoclastic look at the current crisis in capitalism. --Los Angeles Times

[Goes] out of its way to make economic theory and practice digestible to lay audiences. --Variety

Smart and entertaining --The Hollywood Reporter

Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Shiller, Robert Frank, Joseph Stiglitz, Dan Ariely, Robert Wade
  • Directors: David Sington
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: April 17, 2012
  • Run Time: 78 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0054DPLQQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,934 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 31, 2012
Format: DVD
I've seen so many documentaries and news programs about the current financial crisis and the collapse of our economy that I'm starting to feel like an expert and analyst. With all the coverage available, it is becoming increasingly difficult to put a new spin on things or offer up content that feels fresh. David Sington's "The Flaw" takes these familiar concepts and weaves an interesting look at the history that preceded that fateful event. I'm wary to call a serious documentary entertaining, but Sington does a nice job putting together an economic portrait that combines facts, trends, and personal accounts in a way that will really engage even the casual viewer. Let's be honest, there is only so much that can be covered efficiently in an 82 minute film. If anything, the movie attempts too many angles to go into much depth. But what it does provide is a lively look at how capitalism has changed within the last thirty years (compared to the rest of our history) and how our entire consumer structure was based on a fallacy. And once things went south, they did so at an alarming rate!

"The Flaw" provides the usual financial sources, of course, giving commentary about the events that led to the collapse. But in addition to stock interviews, the film utilizes other visual elements quite effectively. Graphs are employed to show historical trends (this was perhaps my favorite tool) and archival TV footage and animation add punch to the presentation. We also spend time with personal stories, most notably a former Wall Street Bond Trader now giving guided street tours to those visiting the financial district of New York. Another major component to the film is footage of Alan Greenspan as he testified before Congress in 2008.
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Format: DVD
I came to this film a bit later than others and you'll see some more detailed reviews here, including one by my fellow reviewer K. Harris. But I wanted to add some info not previously provided by other reviewers.

This moderately short (81 minute) documentary on the "recent financial crisis" was the idea of the three Executive Producers who (we learn from the director) had lots of money but no Director. (Guess they were part of the "haves" who survived the monetary meltdown. They found British Director David Sington, who knew little about banking but specialized in science documentaries, to direct the film. Sington tells a lot in the 48-minute Q&A session which appears as a "bonus feature" (and he's almost as entertaining as his film).

The film was released in 2010 and is now on DVD from Docurama - a DVD label I have always admired for giving exposure to small documentary films that fly "under the radar.).

You don't need to know much about banking, mortgages or real estate to enjoy this film. (After all, the Director didn't.). There are lots of quick edits to keep things going and a nice original score. Older folks will enjoy the clips taken from 1950s educational films on finance that Sington inserts.

If nothing else, you will learn - after watching the film - the difference between buying an "asset" (something people buy more of when the price goes up - like real estate and stock) and "goods" (like gasoline or coffee, where people stop buying when the price increases). That one lesson is worth the two hours (including the Q&A) on this DVD.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
Comment 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
This film is bad, really bad. If you were an alien transported to this planet today and were told that there was an economic crash in 2008 and then you watched this film which claim to answer "What exactly caused the world s greatest economy to crash and burn?" You still would have not a clue.

Let me give you come terms that HAVE to be in any film that wants to know why the economy crashed but were NEVER mentioned in this one.

Derivatives - That is the general disease that the patient had (cancer).
CDS (Credit Default Swaps) - That is the specific type of cancer cell the patient had
FIRREA (Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act) - That is what implanted the cancer cells into the patient undetected
CFMA (Commodity Futures Modernization Act) - The is what let the cancer grow undetected
BISTRO (Broad Index Synthetic Trust Offering) - This allowed the cancer to metastasize at a furious rate.

These are the five keys that are crucial to understand WHAT happened but this film doesn't mention a single one, nada, zip, zilch.

Let me blunt, if you think that the world's economy nearly faltered just because a relatively small amount of people didn't pay their mortgages you have been sadly misled and films like these are leading the way in misleading people. The fact is we paid more in tarp funds than all of the fore-closed and late paying assets were worth and then some.

Here is some math, The US government could come in pay for ALL of the troubled mortgages at a cost of 2.5 billion per month, currently we have paid over 2.4 TRILLION to stabilize the economy without touching the troubled mortgages. They could have paid off every single mortgage for about 1.5 Trillion in one lump sum.
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