Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

2005 [english]

Biography / Documentary / History

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

2005 [english]

Biography / Documentary / History

97%
87%
7.6

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97% - Critics
87% - Audience
7.6

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Synopsis

Enron dives from the seventh largest US company to bankruptcy in less than a year in this tale told chronologically. The emphasis is on human drama, from suicide to 20,000 people sacked: the personalities of Ken Lay (with Falwellesque rectitude), Jeff Skilling (he of big ideas), Lou Pai (gone with $250 M), and Andy Fastow (the dark prince) dominate. Along the way, we watch Enron game California's deregulated electricity market, get a free pass from Arthur Andersen (which okays the dubious mark-to-market accounting), use greed to manipulate banks and brokerages (Merrill Lynch fires the analyst who questions Enron's rise), and hear from both Presidents Bush what great guys these are. —.

Uploaded By: FREEMAN

Aug 15, 2021 at 08:46 PM

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grade Movie Reviews

  • Reviewed by lightdee grade 8 / 10

    Fascinating documentary - never a dull moment - too bad the trial results are missing

    A very interesting expose on the greed, hubris, lies, etc. that brought Enron down. This film is well-done and digs up a lot of dirt. The PBS viewing showed a little clip after the film which discussed the strange trial results, which was probably the biggest problem with the film - it pretty much ends with the bankruptcy of enron and doesn't show much about the trials, since they took place later, although they would make for a great inclusion. To me, the most incredible part of the film is that fact that these guys would stand up every day and tell bold-faced lies to the employees, the government, the investors, and make it all sound good. They had to be thinking in the back of their head "it's all going to come crashing down someday"...


  • Reviewed by blanche-2 grade 8 / 10

    I hope Ken Lay is somewhere hot

    I agree with previous posts: "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" is right up there with the biggest horror films of our time. And this one is scarier because it's real.It's hard to say what boggles the mind most: the complicity of Arthur Andersen, the banks, and the traders in this elaborate scheme of making a failing company look profitable; the fact that the executives cashed out their stock at high prices and froze the employees' stock accessibility until it was worth nothing; the derisive laughter of the traders over the Enron-caused blackouts in California ("let them fall into the ocean - let them use candles); that Lu Pi, a guy who ran a failing Enron company, left that company with $250 million in his pocket; or the fact that Ken Lay died before they could convict him of anything. Take your pick, it's all disgusting.When one of the California power companies called Enron and said there was a fire in the plant, the trader chuckled and said, "Burn, baby, burn." That sums up Enron's, the banks, the traders', and Arthur Andersen's attitude toward the common man - burn, baby, burn. Let's hope that's what Ken Lay is doing right now.This is a great documentary even if you don't understand business. The only part I didn't quite get were these dummy corporations that Flatow started up to hide Enron's losses which were then invested in by the banks. That was a little complicated, but you'd think someone would have realized that the CFO of Enron running companies that were supposedly selling to Enron was a conflict of interest. Funny, no bank picked it up. They won't give you a mortgage, but they'll pay a fortune to a dummy corporation.Probably my favorite part was the mark to market accounting system employed by Enron and signed off on by Arthur Andersen. I have no understanding of a reliable accounting firm allowing such a thing. In other words, if I have a book proposal, I can report a profit of, say, $30,000 on the book even though it isn't sold and I haven't seen a dime. And one wonders how they cooked their books. With help, that's how.


  • Reviewed by anupam-satyasheel grade 7 / 10

    Insightfully informative

    Based on and named after the bestseller book Smartest Guys in the Room, this documentary provides an insightful look into the scandalous fall of Enron Corp. There are no actors in this documentary and yet it is dramatic. Such were the factors leading to the 'amazing rise and scandalous fall' of Enron that even a documentary featuring events preceding that historic day in December 2001, when Enron filed for the largest bankruptcy in the corporate US history, seems like a tale of epic imagination.This documentary is neither as detailed nor as insightful as the book, but it does a great job of providing an insightful and reasonably detailed account of the Enron saga. Overall, it is not of any incremental value for the people who have read the book. However, if you can't go through 464 pages, this does a great job of enlightening you on the drama that Enron was.


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