Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The smartest guys have now left the room

With the sentencing Tuesday of former CEO Jeff Skilling, the book on Enron is essentially closed, but it's worth taking another look at the thought provoking documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, that revealed the dark truth of Enron's collapse and the 'New Economy.'

The documentary closely follows CEO Skilling, Chairman Kenneth Lay and CFO Andrew Fastow from the beginnings of Enron fortune through their incredible fall, and reveals that the latest wave of white collar crime was more then just a 'few bad apples.' Throughout the film, writer-director Alex Gibney utilizes music in a fascinating way - first is the use of invidual themes: Lay's theme song turns out to be Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man" (yes he was, yes he was;) while Skilling gets Marilyn Manson's dark cover of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of Thise)" - playing to his greedy view of the American dream; and CFO Andrew Fastow's theme is appropriately enough Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy."

Playlist: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Gibney also reveals some of his political leanings by backing Ronald Reagan talking about the magic of the marketplace with Judy Garland singing "That Old Black Magic." Elsewhere, there are four (count them, four) songs from the great Tom Waits, including both the opening ("What's He Building?") and the closing credits ("God's Away On Business,") which, in my book, pushes this soundtrack to elite status.

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