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Documentaries: “Frontline: The Warning” and Too Big to Fail


The two films, Frontline: The Warning and Too Big To Fail, were inspired by the events of the global financial crisis of the year 2008. They present different financial themes that were witnessed during the crisis. Specifically, the Too Big To Fail film focuses on the US Secretary of State’s actions aimed at containing the crisis. The actions involved pre-negotiated settlements with big business and the stock market. Despite these efforts, the situation boiled over and spread to other sectors. The introduction of the credit flow to banks and other financial institutions through mandatory capital injection salvaged the situation.

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However, the unemployment rate increased despite the continued merger of big banks that were declared too big to fail (Swerdlow scene 1). On the other hand, the film Frontline reveals the inactions of government officials, especially in terms of regulation of the market derivatives that were responsible for running the financial system. The film presents the dishonesty of government officials who have become corrupted by the big money. These officials believe in the power of big money more than in honesty in their job and would rather influence the government institutions to function to their advantage (Kirk scene 3). This paper presents a comparative analysis of the two films. Besides, the paper discusses the film which portrays a more accurate representation of the events of the financial crisis.

Comparative analysis

The two films present a similar account of the infamous 2008 global financial crisis and how the past events could help in explaining the synopsis of the global meltdown. They give the notion that goalpost shifting of different financial problems became serious during the crisis since capitalism is not interested in finding permanent solutions. Rather, the capitalist market is comfortable when the crisis is shifted to another region. Although I had an idea of the possible catalysts of the 2008 global financial meltdown before watching the films, they presented a clear account of the events before the crisis and put them into perspective, especially in terms of how the American financial market operates at the macro level.

Both films subject the financial market in America to a microscopic analysis in order to highlight the glaring imbalances as a result of subjecting the markets to capitalistic orientation. In the films, the producers carried out a comparative analysis of the 2008 financial crisis and similar events in the past. The findings were analogous, indicating that capitalism was the root cause of all the past financial crises in the US that spilled to other regions. In the view presented in the two films, capitalism can only survive if it grows in order to have a functional facet. In the process of growth, capitalism shifts financial problems to different geographical locations. The shift occurs because capitalism is functional only when it grows and is successfully managed, irrespective of the direction. In the films, the growth of capitalism is negative in the markets where it is functional and the shortfalls have to be shifted to another geographic location. The constant shift brings about the global face of capitalism and the eventual financial crisis whenever it fails to grow in the market.

Film which portrays a more accurate representation

The film Too Big To Fail presents a more accurate representation of the events of the 2008 financial crisis. The film reviews the underlying financial derivatives and actions of institutions that catalyzed the occurrence of the crisis. The film clearly presents the underlying factors that have conspired to give financial crisis the global face as a result of capitalism. The film cleverly relates the 2008 financial crisis to an institutional failure in one market as having the potential to spread like a bush fire to other geographical regions. This is because an institutional failure under the capitalistic markets is not static and confined to one region since there is a constant inter and intra market trade. To further clarify the institutional failure as catalyzing the crisis, the functionality of capitalism is purely based on its successes in implementation.

These successes should be sustainable for the market to remain sound and economically viable. In the event of improper institutional regulation, there is bound to be a ripple effect on the market forces that operate at the macro level. If the situation of institutional failure persists, there is no alternative but to shift the capitalistic shortfalls to other geographic markets. The shift often occurs suddenly because of the interrelatedness of different markets, as influenced by institutions mandated to manage the financial market indicators such as the balance of payment. Unfortunately, if the shift is too sudden, there is a very high chance of an instant spillage of high magnitude to the primary and secondary markets as seen in the actions of the banks that have merged together. If unchecked, because of persistent institutional failure, a financial crisis of a different kind might occur to complete the recurring cycle, which often takes different shapes with the same results. For instance, in the film, the compulsory capital injections and mergers salvaged many banks and big companies with the negative result of increased unemployment.

Works Cited

Kirk, Michael, director. The Warning: Frontline. PBS Films, 2009.

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Swerdlow, Ezra, director. Too Big To Fail. HBO Films, 2011.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, December 29). Documentaries: "Frontline: The Warning" and Too Big to Fail. Retrieved from

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"Documentaries: "Frontline: The Warning" and Too Big to Fail." StudyCorgi, 29 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Documentaries: "Frontline: The Warning" and Too Big to Fail." December 29, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Documentaries: "Frontline: The Warning" and Too Big to Fail." December 29, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Documentaries: "Frontline: The Warning" and Too Big to Fail." December 29, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Documentaries: "Frontline: The Warning" and Too Big to Fail'. 29 December.

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