Econintersect: The Robert Reich-Jacob Kornbluth film, Inequality for All debuted yesterday (19 January 2013) at the Sundance film festival as reported then by GEI News. The second showing of the film was completed about 90 minutes before this is being written so there will be (perhaps) more reviews published than the several (summarized below) that appeared in the 22 hours between the first two showings. The movie trailer can be accessed after the Read more >> break.
Below are the seven reviews located by Econintersect that were available after the first showing and before the second:
Reviews by Sheri Linden and Sean Means can be found in yesterday’s story.
From indie film critic Sydney Levine:
This film wins my First Prize, at least thus far. Robert Reich does such a brilliant, personally moving explanation of how our current economic malaise has come about.
Actually, the film is not at all political. It crosses all lines. The greed of Wall Street and the corporate CEOs is more of a mental disease than a political or Socio-economic issue.
From critic Daniel Feinberg:
What “An Inconvenient Truth” was for environmental science, “Inequality For All” absolutely is for economic inequality.
For whoever ends up acquiring and distributing “Inequality For All,” there are empirical advantages to that comparison. “An Inconvenient Truth” took in nearly $50 million worldwide, making it the most lucrative PowerPoint presentation in history. It also won a Documentary Oscar
It has a lot to do with Reich’s own work and also with the research of Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty and it needn’t necessarily be thought of as “partisan,” though it’ll be read that way. Reich is happy to remind us that his first government job was in the Ford administration.
“Inequality For All” is a well-made polemic. It’s lively and funny and infuriating and Robert Reich is as appealing a presenter as you could hope to find for a crisis that many people might find hard to embrace otherwise. It starts a conversation, but it left me hanging. perhaps Festival exposure will help that conversation continue after the theater lights go up.
Like “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Inequality for All” is grounded in footage of a large lecture — in this case, Reich’s “Wealth and Poverty” class at UC Berkeley — with plentiful cutaways for visual aides and interviews. The former Secretary of Labor, Reich has a simple argument to make: The widening gulf between rich and poor is leading to the disenfranchisement of the middle class, which will cripple the national economy if left unchecked. To support it, he traces the entire fiscal development of the country from the Great Depression onward, and does so with a commendable lack of professorial gobbledygook or obvious partisan book-cooking.
As he acknowledges throughout the film, the central message of rising economic inequality is one he’s been preaching for three decades, and when he started, he was considered a centrist. Only recently, two decades after the end of the Cold War, have those same ideas brought him under charges of radical Marxism by Fox News blowhards.
In one of the film’s most stirring sequences, Reich is drawn into a charged exchange with a roughly eloquent Calpine factory worker who opposes unionization. Reich engages the man in debate with admirable civility and a lack of condescension, and the rest of the docu strives to follow suit (though fiscal conservatives will obviously disagree with many of the film’s arguments, it scarcely ever resorts to straw-man chicanery). But it underlines the many brick walls financial reformers face, and the struggle “Inequality” with have to undergo to reach those most in need of convincing.
Tech tasks are all efficiently executed, and the film drifts by swiftly on the back of a jaunty score and low-key animated flourishes.
From Trailer Addict:
…effectively adapting Reich himself into documentary form. Asking how we got here and what happens if we don’t act, filmmaker and subject dissect countless issues—among them wage stagnation, consolidated wealth, manufacturing, financial instruments, capital markets, globalization, and election politics—with an uncanny ability to render complex principles digestible. In addition to interviews with other economists, politicians, and experts, Kornbluth documents the struggles of regular working people for whom the American dream is increasingly untenable.
The disappointment expressed by Feinberg is actually an objective of the film, as you will hear Reich say in the trailer below:
“I am not interested in you sharing my opinion. I want you to assess your assumptions.”
- Movie Premier: Inequality for All (GEI News, 19 January 2013)
- Inequality for All: Sundance Review (Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 January 2013)
- Sundance review: “Inequality for All” (Sean Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 January 2013)
- When Are Films Political? Inequality For All (Sydney Levine, Sydney Buzz, Indiewire, 20 January 2013)
- Sundance Review: Robert Reich thrives in the ‘Inequality For All’ spotlight (Daniel Feinberg, The Fein Print, 20 January 2013)
- Inequality for All (Andrew Barker, Variety, 20 January 2013)
- Sundance 2013: ‘Inequality for All’ Star Robert Reich on Tea Party, Occupy and Anger (Daniel Miller, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 January 2013)
- Trailer for Inequality for All (Trailer Addict, undated)