Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

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Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room tells us the story of the rise and fall of the one-time multi-national corporation and America's seventh largest company, Enron. It is a story of greed, corruption and tragedy. It is the story of perhaps the biggest scandal to occur in the history of corporate America.

Led by executives Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, Enron became almost an overnight success. Its value and stock soon shot through the roof and anyone involved with the company was sure to be financially secure. There were rumblings here and there that perhaps Enron wasn't as financially viable as it appeared on paper to be, but Enron's perceived success allowed it to have the banks, financial institutions, accountants and even the President of the United States securely placed in its back pocket. Not surprisingly, there are suggestions in the movie about the strong relations between Enron executives and the Bush family. George Bush Sr. even personalized a message for former Enron executive Rich Kinder, telling him that "You have been fantastic to the Bush family". Nevertheless, the company's questionable accounting practices and grumblings of massive financial losses soon gave way to one of the biggest downfalls in the history of corporate America. But not before many of the company's executives cashed out and made themselves very rich men and left Joe Public holding his nuts in one hand and an empty bank account in the other. According to both Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, they just did not know what was going on around them. And while both men await trial on various charges, nothing can be done for the thousands and thousands of people who lost their jobs and their life savings. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room tells us this story.

I am a big fan of documentaries and this movie has done nothing to change my feelings towards these types of movies. It is an interesting look at corporate scandal and does a good job of chronicling both the rise and fall of Enron. It is entertaining, funny at times, sad at others and overall, pretty upsetting and disturbing. There are interviews with ex-employees, financial experts and many other key people familiar with the Enron scandal. Not surprisingly, people like Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling had nothing to say. It really is too bad that something like this had to happen. That the greed and arrogance of a few ruined the lives of so many. The entire story casts a shadow over corporations in general but people have to realize that there is more good than bad out there. It's just too bad that the bad has to have such an profound impact.

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