Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

  • Biography, Documentary, History
  • 1h 47m

America’s ‘most innovative company’ (per Fortune), Enron was created by preacher’s son Ken Lay (or as George W. Bush called him, ‘Kenny Boy’) and administered by the Harvard-educated macho man Jeffrey Skilling, whose Gordon Gekkoid business philosophy advocated unlimited greed. Enron contributed mightily to Bush campaign coffers, but once its $30 billion debt emerged from a maze of creative accountancy, the corporation went from being the New Economy poster child to its Frankenstein monster. Again and again, Gibney emphasizes that everyone in the financial world, including a number of journalists, signed on to the fraud and profited as a result. There is a priceless moment when Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan is presented with the Enron Prize and a horrifying one, shown twice, when Enron honchos laughingly advise their hapless employees to invest in the soon-to-be-worthless Enron stock that they were themselves unloading.

The fantasy isn’t over: other amazing footage has Enron energy traders playing the California grid like a pinball machine and (talk about collateral damage) paving the way for the state’s bully-boy gubernator who had his own meeting with Kenny Boy in the midst of California’s manufactured energy crisis.

Nominated - Best Documentary Feature, Academy Awards.


Alex Gibney





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