Inside Job, the critically acclaimed movieby Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Charles Ferguson, is the definitive film about the economic crisis of 2008 and the role of Wall Street in modern society.
It is a substantive and entertaining film that is ideal for educational purposes. I have shown it to my class, and I encourage you to show it to yours. The film is sweeping and non-partisan in its critique, and covers both the historical roots of the crisis and the central flaws of global financial regulation.
It includes comprehensive coverage of the major financial players at the center of the recent boom and bust. The film draws heavily on interviews with a “Who’s Who” of financial markets, including major financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics. (I have a very small part as well).
These interviews, and the film’s engaging and provocative narrative by Matt Damon, will introduce your students to key financial issues, economic history, and current debates and news about the markets. Inside Job is colorful and comprehensive, and is guaranteed to generate lively discussion among your students. As Time magazine put it, “If you’re not enraged by the end of this movie, you weren’t paying attention.”
The people at Sony Pictures Classics asked me to write this teacher’s guide to help provide some content and lesson plans for teachers interested in showing Inside Job as part of their classes. I have included four lesson plans to be used in conjunction with the film. These lessons will help your students to connect the film to important financial issues that touch their lives. They are designed to assess several important questions that your students inevitably will confront in the future. The material is designed to be flexible. The topics are modular, and the lesson plans can build on each other, or be used alone. They can be used with the entire film, or just selections.
You should feel free to print and duplicate these materials for your students and colleagues. They are available for free on this website: www.sonyclassics.com/insidejob.
Each lesson is designed for about 50 minutes of class time, though you easily could devote more or less time. I hope you and your students enjoy watching Inside Job and that you find the materials in this guide to be a provocative and useful way to engage your students in a conversation about the past, present, and future of our economy.