Review: HBO's Too Big To Fail well acted, not encouraging
By April MacIntyre May 23, 2011, 3:32 GMT
Sometimes it is too soon to watch a dramatized version of these life changing events, and all the simplification that the HBO effort delivers only leaves you with a queasiness and niggling fear we are not out of the woods, and that the David Byrne "Once in a Lifetime" lyric, "Same as it ever was," is a loop that will be played again in our lifetime.
There is no feel good ending, nor comfort in watching HBO's densely star-studded cast in "Too Big To Fail."
The HBO event is based on Andrew Ross Sorkin’s same named nonfiction bestseller that was daunting reading to those of us not expert in economics, nor willing to face and fully absorb the utter callousness that saw Wall Street squander the savings and investments of so many of us, so quickly. And the government's knee jerk panic to ameliorate the damage by enacting TARP and bailouts galore.
Sometimes it is too soon to watch a dramatized version of these life changing events, and all the simplification that the HBO effort delivers only leaves you with a queasiness and niggling fear we are not out of the woods. And that the David Byrne "Once in a Lifetime" lyric, Same as it ever was, is a loop that will be played again in our lifetime.
I watched the beautifully cast and executed effort with mixed emotions, directly affected as many of you were by the financial meltdown of 2008. And today, still working saddled with a percentage-based reduction in salary because of this perfect storm of the rich and entitled wheeling and dealing in sketchy loans, betting on the wrong horses.
"Too Big to Fail" is watchable, hypnotic in the Domino effect that took place, unfolding as the players like Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson are played by Paul Giamatta and William Hurt respectively, and as the side players "entertain" as Rome is partially smoldering.
The restrained and precise performance that is delivered by William Hurt makes this hard to watch saga of our economy less onerous. Also watch for Billy Crudup, cast as Timothy Geithner, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Edward Asner is cast as Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and made to look like an overweight superhuman savior from Nebraska.
Also cast are James Woods who does a superb turn as anxietal Dick Fuld, chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2008, which precipitates much of the action in the financial crisis.
Watch for Bill Pullman as "sexy CEO" Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase CEO, Matthew Modine is John Thain, former chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch who sold the company to Bank of America to avoid following Lehman Bros. into bankruptcy. Cynthia Nixon is cast as Michele Davis, who served as Hank Paulson's spokeswoman, and Tony Shalhoub shines as Morgan Stanley's John Mack.
To watch it will be an education for many, but to really digest it and let it sink in will only lead to more worry and a dyspeptic malaise that won't make you glad you did.
"Too Big To Fail" airs 9 p.m. Monday, May 23 (HBO)