HBO News Blog

Too Big to Fail Impresses, Depresses Critics

By Jacob Klein on May 20, 2011 to HBO News

too-big-to-fail-hboIf you weren’t already angry over the 2008 economic meltdown you’re in luck!  This Monday evening, HBO Films will premiere Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Too Big to Fail; the movie version of his best selling novel of the same name.  The film plays on the dramatic events of the crash and follows a few of the key players through their own special contributions to the crisis.  Some film critics have been given access to the show and have posted early reviews.  Most feel that, while scary, depressing and heavy, the show does a great job of conveying the information people want and need to disseminate.

Here’s what the Washington Post had to say:

“Too Big to Fail” is as daunting and depressing as its subject, a dreaded homework assignment for an audience who will mainly nod in assent when its real-life characters (fictional versions of Neel Kashkari, Henry Paulson, Warren Buffett) quip and soliloquize on the audacity of greedy investors and deluded homebuyers alike. … Perhaps the best moment in the film comes as a form of intellectual surrender: During a late-night scene in Paulson’s office, assistant secretary Michele Davis (Cynthia Nixon) tries to wrap her mind around the unfolding crisis so she can ably answer reporters’ questions the next morning.”

Businessweek enjoyed several scenes writing:

“In one scene, Bernanke tells a room filled with congressmen and bank CEOs that they can either do what he and Paulson are telling them or trigger the next Depression. These fist-pumping moments cast a new light on the shy academic—who knew?—and provide some of the best moments in the movie.”

Medialife appreciates how great acting can help us keep all of these characters straight!:

“Movies with all-star casts aren’t cast that way just for box office or, in the case of TV movies, for ratings. Recognizable actors help us keep multiple characters straight…. The cast of well-known and, more importantly, skilled actors, though somewhat distracting, helps to make the movie both graspable and gripping.”

Variety sees the movie as a necessary film, whose subject matter is of the utmost import:

“In short, it’s a movie whose very subject matter renders it too big to fail.”

The San Fransisco Chronical calls it a “Financial Thriller”:

“Too Big to Fail… has a lot going for it, including one great performance after another from an A-list cast, crisp direction by Curtis Hanson and the sweeping theme of pulling the nation’s economy back from total collapse.”

Critics seem to agree: the show is piercing look into the financial crisis but also, due to the nature of the materian, often ends up depressing the viewer.  Check it out for yourself this Monday night on HBO.

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