MONEY FOR NOTHING: INSIDE THE FEDERAL RESERVE
directed by Jim Bruce
THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI
directed by Bill Siegel
by Walter Chaw It's difficult to review Jim Bruce's incendiary, scholarly Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve (hereafter Money), because even as I was understanding the role of the Federal Reserve Bank for the first time in my adult life (how its adjustments of interest actually drive the economy of not merely this nation, but every industrialized nation in our rapidly-shrinking world), I found myself comparing the film to one of those informational videos that play on endless loops in Natural History museums. It's immensely educational...and dry as a soda cracker. What I find to be problematic about it is the same thing I found problematic about Al Gore's PowerPoint presentation An Inconvenient Truth: it's not really art, is it? Not to open that can of worms, but for me, as a personal demarcation, art inspires something like Kierkegaardian fear and loathing--existential trembling, yes: a mirror held to nature in all the myriad, alien, surprising, often terrifying forms that nature assumes. What Money does, and does admirably, is explain what the hell happened to the United States' financial institutions right around 1998 or so and continuing on into now--explain what the bailout was and how/why it affects the average American. Most fascinatingly, it explains how far in estimation the once god-like Alan Greenspan has fallen in the eyes of those who worshipped him. But while these are noble achievements, they're not enough.