Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room


Top 20% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2005 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Alex Gibney, Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner, Joana Vicente, Alex Gibney, Jason Kliot, Susan Motmed, Maryse Alberti, Alison Ellwood


Watching Enron: THe Smartest Guys in the Room is a little like watching the outcome of a Super Bowl on ESPN Classic. Although you already know the final score, you're still captivated by the drama of the game, entertained by the characters, and fascinated by the behind-the-scenes revelations. And Enron is indeed an engrossingly dramatic tale, especially as depicted in all of its exquisite detail by director/screenwriter Alex Gibney. The story of Enron is not simply a cautionary tale about greed and corruption. Nor is it a story that we are unlikely to witness again, for the rise and fall of Enron is as American as apple pie.

With this film, based on the book of the same title, Gibney has fashioned a history lesson that takes us "inside" the headquarters of the seventh-largest corporation in the United States and illustrates through a series of rapidly paced interviews, corporate footage, and new reports, the "new economy" of the 1990s: a climate where companies sold ideas rather that widgets, and a corporate culture where ethics became as old-fashioned and out-of-date as value investing. Densely packed, with a world of information for the sophisticate and neophyte alike, Enron is riveting, muckraking filmmaking that should make any culture critic of the '90s proud.


Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.