CANNES, France -- If you don't quite get what happened to the global economy over the last two years, or who's at fault, you're not alone. Indeed, that's nearly everyone's situation. The big crash of 2008 and 2009 and its ongoing ripple effects -- such as the European fiscal crisis that's rendering my visit to France a little cheaper every day -- seemed to come from nowhere as if by natural causes, as unpredictable and unmanageable as the Icelandic volcano or a Gulf Coast hurricane.
Charles Ferguson is here to tell the world that the crisis that wiped out trillions of dollars in wealth, threw millions of people out of their homes and out of work, and further widened the gulf between rich and poor was no accident. It was a crime. Ferguson, a former software entrepreneur and policy-wonk scholar turned filmmaker, is definitely no left-wing bomb-thrower or closet Marxist. But he plays one in the movies, you might say. His new documentary, "Inside Job" -- arguably the smash hit of Cannes so far -- offers a lucid and devastating history of how the crash happened, who caused it and how they got away with it.
Furthermore, Ferguson argues, if we don't stop those people -- preferably by removing them from power, arresting them and sending them to prison -- they will certainly do it again. "Inside Job" is as elegant, penetrating and well researched as Ferguson's Iraq war film, "No End in Sight," but it's a hell of a lot angrier.