“Too Big To Fail” – 2011. Dir. Curtis Hanson

With William Hurt, Ed Asner, Paul Giamatti, Billy Crudup, Tohper Grace, Cynthia Nixon, with Michael O’Keefe, Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Modine, James Woods, Dan Hedya, Evan Handler and Bill Pullman

“You want too big to fail!? Here it is!”

    In the wake of all the pseudo fictional representations of the 2008 financial crisis, HBO pulls out all the stops with an amazing cast and a great director. If only Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay.

    I do believe that most people should know the story of the events that lead up to the market crashing. If you don’t, you’re either an imp or you’re more apathetic than Detective Sommerset from “Seven”.

    The cast for HBO’s “Too Big to Fail” is great. William Hurt (who already won the Globe and Emmy) takes the lead as Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, followed by Paul Giamatti as Ben Bernanke and a slew of excellent middle aged character actors making up the CEO’s of the financial industry.

    Enter: Bill Pullman as Jamie Diamond of JP Morgan, James Woods as the ‘oh-so-evil’ Dick Fuld of Lehman Brothers, Matthew Modine as John Thain of Merrill Lynch, Michael O’Keefe as Chris Flowers, Tony Shalhoub as John Mack and rounding out the financial gurus are Ed Asner as Warren Buffet and Billy Crudup as Timothy Geithner.

    Impressive. Most impressive.

    Wait! Hang on! There’s more!

    Topher Grace plays John Wilkinson, aide to Hank Paulson. Really? Cynthia Nixon plays the PR person of the Treasury Department, and her sole purpose for being the film is to attract the women who still float around HBO waiting for “Sex and the City” reruns. Also, she’s there to dumb down the information that the film spit out.

    “Explain this to me like I’m an 11 year old.”

    “Too Big to Fail” sinks where “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” thrives. The closed door meetings inside the Federal Reserve where the CEO’s are all locked inside together and forced to figure a way out of the mess that they created. It’s a little lackluster considering the talent of actors sitting in that room.

    As to where “Money Never Sleeps” pitted Frank Langella against a sinister Josh Brolin in a very dangerous and even volatile chess match – here we are left watching extremely talented actors wallow in a very average script.

    “Too Big to Fail” lacks the dramatic powerhouse of a human emotion that “And the Band Played On”, HBO’s film that came out in the early 90’s had. I’ve always considered “And the Band Played On” to be the finest TV movie ever made. It also had Matthew Modine take the lead, in another ensemble of very, very talented actors.

    The meatless script is what keeps “Too Big to Fail” from being great. The steady reinforcement of director Curtis Hanson and the remarkable cast is what really makes the film too big to fail.

Rating: 8/10

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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..