Who would think a documentary about the collapse of a mammoth corporation could play out like a drama with the emotional power of Greek tragedy? But that is the impact of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, the inside story of one of history’s greatest business scandals, in which top executives of America’s seventh largest company walked away with more than $1 billion while investors and employees lost everything.
Based on the best-selling book The Smartest Guys in the Room by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, and featuring insider accounts and incendiary corporate audio and videotapes, this tale of greed, hubris, and betrayal reveals the outrageous personal excesses of the Enron hierarchy and the moral vacuum that led CEO Ken Lay — along with other players including accounting firm Arthur Andersen, Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Skilling and Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow — to manipulate securities trading, bluff the balance sheets, and deceive investors.
A fascinating exploration of corporate culture and epic misdeeds, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room takes viewers from the heyday of soaring profits through the prolonged fallout, including the collapse of Arthur Andersen, the 2006 convictions of Lay, Skilling, and Fastow, followed by Lay’s death two months later, which vacated his conviction.
Filmmaker Alex Gibney saw the Enron story as more than a corporate scandal: “I felt that the film would give me an opportunity to explore some larger themes about American culture, the cruelty of our economic system, and the way it can be too easily rigged for the benefit of the high and mighty.”
- Alex GibneyDirector