Films about financial crisis
Right now the world is plunging headlong towards financial crisis, or so the people in charge keep telling us. Rather than trying to calm the situation we hear people like the IMF telling us that we're all doomed. Great. So in times of trouble, well in film anyway, people rally around you just in your our of need, you get fired for not keeping up sales, you take risks on the stock market, but despite all that greed is still good, even the UK Government agree as they leap on cheap shares.
So in this feature let's have a look at financial woes and crisis, films about money, trading, crashing and all that stuff that Gordon Gekko loved so much, and still does.
Actually, wouldn't it be a great time right now for another Wall Street film? The current time setting would really be a good place for the return of Gekko, and that leads me to the first and most obvious choice for this feature, Wall Street.
That's an iconic film, with a number of iconic lines. We see Charlie Sheen playing an upcoming player in Wall Street brought under the wing of Gordon Gekko played by Michael Douglas, one of the most ruthless, feared and successful financial men, and when Sheen gets involved he finds that he has to engage in some practices that he rather wouldn't and he ends up putting his morality and family business on the line. However good greed is, it doesn't always work, not for Gekko anyway.
The film has quite a resonance at the moment, particularly in the way it deals with those greedy characters we imagine are short selling their way to success at the expense of our financial markets.
On the opposite side of that story is It's a Wonderful Life, a classic film which carries a plot thread about a man trying to keep the small, local town bank running and protect the investment and financial lives of the people he's lived around for so long. That's often overlooked for the more emotional and personal side of the film, but the storyline is still there none the less. In the end, despite impending financial ruin, it appears that friends are always there to help each other. I hope that's the case in the times to come.
Lightheartedly there's Trading Places, another film that takes to the trading floor but this time for comic purposes. We see two rich executives deciding to play an age old game. They'll take a down and out bum and place him in their world of privilige and trading to see if he can make it, while they take someone from their lifestyle and drop them into the bum's world. Whoever makes it, wins them a rather large bet.
This had Eddie Murphy at his best, and combined with the comic talents of Dan Aykroyd, they deliver a blisteringly good film with huge laughs where they exact their revenge using the very same stock markets. Belly pork specifically.
While we're talking about the trading floor, what about Rogue Trader? Now we're getting into the realms of reality with a film about Nick Leeson, a trader for a financial institution who took a little too many risks and as he got in deeper, he took more. Greed is most definitely not good, and it really can end you up in jail.
Finally, on the list of films I'm going to choose, there's Glengarry Glen Ross, a film adapted from a superb stage play about a group of salesmen battling for their jobs as their boss arrives and announces job cuts. It's a wonderful character film with great performances from a selection of stunning actors and really does capture the fears of redundancy and what people will go through to protect their jobs. Another film that could be more and more relevant to our times.
Oh I should have ended on It's a Wonderful Life, instead it's as bleak as our financial outlook.
What other films can you see that fit into the realm of financial crisis or troubles? What about the real life stories? Are there more films about financial institutions? I'm struggling to think of more films on a personal level about such times, what can you come up with?