Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis might have been late to the financial meltdown party, but he has such a hugely unforgiving countenance, and looks so stereotypically like the face of the establishment, or “the man.” So it’s no great surprise, really, that he graces the DVD cover of Breaking the Bank, an hour-long Frontline special that delves into wonderful financial meltdown of the past two years.
The bets were hugely risky — billions of dollars on the booming housing market, insuring increasingly risky loans and credit swaps amongst other institutions. In the good times, these super-banks reaped billions of dollars in profits, and gobbled up competitors. Then the bottom dropped out and massive losses on Wall Street nearly broke the banks, leaving many teetering on the brink of failure. As the federal government contemplates what could still become a massive nationalization of the industry — and crazy FOX News viewers somehow hit reset on their meager mental counters, and affix the entire blame of the meltdown on President Obama rather than his predecessor or anyone else in either the government or the private sector — this solidly informative docu-overview from writer-director Michael Kirk (Inside the Meltdown) and reporter Jim Gilmore provides a breakdown of the complicated financial and political web that ensnared greedy and/or system-gaming, out-of-control lenders, using Bank of America as its prime example. The only glaring demerit? Failing to adequately address issues of voted-down oversight regulations that would have stemmed the disaster.
Housed in a regular plastic Amaray case, Breaking the Bank is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, with an English language 5.1 stereo audio track that more than adequately handles the meager aural demands of this title. There are no supplemental materials, but if you want to freak out your kids — or perhaps explain the cardboard city they’re living in 30 years hence — buy this DVD and stick it in a time capsule for them. To purchase the disc, click here. B (Movie) C (Disc)