Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room Movie Review

This is a review of the movie Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.

Enron was a company that was predicated on making money out of nothing. When the end came it came quickly and many lives were disrupted. The movie gives us the story of how it went down in documentary format based on original reporting by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind.

Why you want to see this movie

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room Movie Review PhotoEnron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a stunning documentary that keeps your focus as it walks through the birth, rise and death of Enron. Throughout the movie news clips are interspersed with interview from the main players. Don’t be mistaken, it isn’t some folks on the periphery, but the actual people making the decisions.

Narrated by Peter Coyote, the narration serves as a guide and doesn’t explain everything like you’re a five year old. There is enjoyment in this as you begin to put the pieces together and understand what a sham Enron had become.

It is a smart movie with great pace that engages you at every level.

Some highlights of the movie

  1. Unknown executives – Everyone knows of Lay and Skilling, not one knew of J. Clifford Baxter or Lou Pai who managed to hurt the company more than anyone expected. The movie draws the viewer in by relating first hand reports of how they accorded themselves during the downfall.
  2. Bad bets – Enron decided to build a power plant in India where it lost a massive amount of money. It then decided to get into the broadband  business, which was horribly timed and unneeded. The worst decision was to try to trade weather futures. Let that one sink in for a moment.

Favorite Quote

Skilling talking about the California energy issues:

Oh I can’t help myself. You know what the difference between the state of California and Titanic? And this is being webcast, and I know I’m going to regret this – at least when the Titanic went down, the lights were on.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a movie to watch, savor and learn from. You won’t be disappointed with the time you spend.

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