The 2008 financial crisis brought forth an overwhelming sense of distrust and fury from consumers. It's a condition that continues to fester and boil to this day, and its lessons remain relevant and timely. Produced by VICE News, Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis is a feature-length documentary that attempts to break down the complex series of judgments and errors that contributed to the crisis, and examines the consequences that continue to resound in the lives of everyday Americans over a decade later.
The film's major strength lies in the participation of each principal player, including Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President Tim Geithner, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, President George W. Bush and world-renowned investor Warren Buffett. Through lengthy and incredibly detailed interviews, we learn about each of their backgrounds, individual areas of expertise, and the steps they took to curb an approaching financial catastrophe.
The financial crisis was precipitated by a mortgage boom which was soon undercut by shaky housing prices, faltering economic growth and a complete lack of discipline on Wall Street. The writing on the wall became apparent, and it predicted nothing short of the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression. Global investment banks like Bear Sterns were soon bailed out by the federal government. Sensing that these privileged institutions had successfully negotiated a massive heist, the public outcry was deafening. According to subjects interviewed in the film, much of this consumer fury was driven by misunderstandings and poor communication.
The film details how each central player worked with politicians to influence and enact legislation to avoid a total collapse, the short-term fixes that served as a band-aid to a more enduring dilemma and the public relations struggles that played out in concert with the crisis. Viewers will also receive insights on how the crisis reverberated throughout our political spectrum, and went a long way into determining the elections of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis is perhaps the most comprehensive, well-produced and clearly articulated overview of the crisis to date.