I’ve written several articles skewering HBO for producing political projects destined to air immediately prior to the 2012 election, where the vast majority of the cast and crew are passionate Barack Obama supporters, and where the content is aimed at the Democrat’s two favorite Republican villains: Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney. So, when I sat down to watch HBO’s Too Big to Fail, I prepared myself for the worst. What I didn’t expect was the big surprise awaiting me.
Too Big to Fail, which premieres on HBO on May 23, 2011, features a star studded cast recounting the events that led to the financial crisis and bailouts by the U.S. government in 2008. It is a mini-series packed into a 98-minute made-for-television movie where several essential characters are quickly introduced and where finance and economics are casually discussed. It may help if one has a baseline of knowledge about the crisis before watching the movie. If one doesn’t know who Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and Timothy Geithner are or what Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, and AIG are, it may prove slightly difficult to follow.
Although the Director, Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile), was limited to telling a very long and complicated story in a very short amount of time, he was able to skillfully pull it off. Perhaps this is because the screenwriter, Peter Gould (Breaking Bad), deftly adapted Andrew Ross Sorkin’s 2009 prize winning New York Times Bestseller, Too Big to Fail.