Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
- 1 hr 49 min
'Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room' is a drop-dead serious documentary about the largest corporate scandal of that time. The film reveals through interviews and biting narration the vast depth of the criminal activity engaged in by top executives in the Houston, Texas based energy firm. In 2001, Enron as an ongoing business failed when it was no longer able to raise money to fund operations. It had sustained itself almost from the beginning by means of overly aggressive accounting and fraud. The narration for this true and often shocking story was provided by Hollywood actor Peter Coyote. Enron's first chief executive was Kenneth Lay whose father was a preacher, and the film makes it clear that Ken Lay pursued governmental deregulation with a religious zeal. From the very start, Enron was corrupt, but when Jeff Skilling arrived on the scene to take over as CEO, the company took a sharp turn in its business dealings and began to rely upon a method of accounting which would permit them to book profits today, on business deals which they would get paid sometime far in the future if they got paid at all. According to the film, Enron engaged in very little legitimate business activity, and relied upon mergers and corporate acquisitions for growth. Their eccentric accounting style allowed them to convinced Wall Street to keep pushing up the price of their stock that they used extensively as collateral to borrow the money needed to run the organization. When the systematic fraud the company was engaged in was finally exposed, the stock price collapsed, and they were no longer able to finance operations. Enron was then forced into the largest corporate bankruptcy in history up to that point. What followed were several different investigations conducted by various branches of the government along with some high-profile criminal trials resulting in convictions and jail time for some of the organization's top personnel.