The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron

This is the complete unvarnished truth about one of those criminal operations that buys out City Hall, the State Capitol and Washington, D.C.

Or, the story about a corporation run like a political campaign.

It didn’t start with Enron, and it’s still going on. Recession just means a tight squeeze for the PR machine. Junk construction proceeds apace, even where the ground has been picked clean for years. That’s what globalization’s all about: virtual assets and other people’s money. “The globalization of stupidity,” it gets called here.

Penelope Spheeris handles this as well as anybody could (she has Wall Street by Oliver Stone to work from). Especially skillful are relationships between background and foreground brought to bear in a few places.

The acting is good throughout, rising to Brian Dennehy’s Mr. Blue and Mike Farrell’s Mr. Lay.

Spheeris sees it all: the electronic security at the Enron entrance, the monitors with an Enron mascot talking into the camera. A few quick, sharp notes sketch the brave new world these grifters foisted on people who couldn’t spot them a day before they declared bankruptcy, let alone a mile away in a good wind.

One of the last times this happened, the Beeb made a great television film out of it (The Billion Dollar Bubble), and it ran on the Peeb. Enron went all the way to network prime time.