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HANK: FIVE YEARS FROM THE BRINK (RADICAL MEDIA, 2013) is a JOE BERLINGER (SOME KIND OF MONSTER, PARADISE LOST TRILOGY) directed documentary that allows former TREASURY SECRETARY HANK PAULSON, third under the GEORGE W. BUSH administration, to explain his response and process with regards to the 2008 financial crisis that defined his stewardship of the UNITED STATES' economy.
the format of this documentary is very much interview-based in the tradition of ERROL MORRIS, who famously is an off-camera interlocutor asking questions of his subject and challenging them. all we get is the subject's, here being PAULSON, reactions which serves as a light interrogation. this is intercut with archival footage. i appreciate this format because it very much leaves the focus of the narrative on that of the subject, not distracting side recreated events or first-person narrations. it forces the viewer to listen.
anyway, PAULSON very much says what you would expect: that the focus of TARP and propping up the banks and FANNIE MAE/FREDDIE MAC in the wake of the crisis was aimed at helping common people. he was direly afraid of a second depression, with bread lines and high unemployment. his wife gives testimony throughout about the physical tole these decisions had on him physically and mentally. i do not doubt it. i remember back then people called him "KING HANK" because he was given the power by congress to financially buttress the market however he saw fit, resulting ultimately in TARP.
he mentions the fact that all the money was made back and answered, ineffectively, longstanding critiques that the bailouts never matriculated down to the street level and that the banks merely profited off the kindness of the government's bailout. AMERICAN people always talk about "no risk-it, no biscuit" but what happens when you fail? average people loose homes. the wall street bankers got bonuses.
two points i found interesting.
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what was originally intended as behind-the-scenes footage to be utilized as extra content for their upcoming release transitioned into a seminal documentary about the dissolution of a band in real-time, something that has not been documented before or since to my knowledge.
controversial at the time of its release among METAL fans, the documentary SOME KIND OF MONSTER (THIRD EYE, 2004) by directors JOE BERLINGER and BRUCE SINOFSKY (BROTHER's KEEPER, PARADISE LOST trilogy) has proven in retrospect to be arguably their highest achievement (other than those perfect string of legendary CLIFF BURTON albums in the 1980s). i say this because there is a lot of posturing and machismo bullshit in METAL. it is by far the aspect of the genre i dislike the most and for years METALLICA were the pied pipers of this toxic brand of masculinity. that was until their second bassist JASON NEWSTED departed in order to claim the freedom of pursuing other projects. this was the first domino in a series of internal debate and reconsiderations that led to group therapy and lead singer/rhythm guitarist JAMES HETFIELD's admittance into rehab for alcoholism.
again, given their history with these issues it was a brave move. original lead guitarist DAVE MUSTAINE of MEGADETH fame was booted out for his behavior when intoxicated. he wasn't afforded a second opportunity. to interview him and put all the cards on the table in such a public manner really altered the culture in my opinion. none more so than the issue of therapy.
METALLICA was mocked extensively for going in to group therapy as such was perceived (moronically) as being weak, passive and not metal. if anything this was a power move that took incredible courage. i look back now at a seminal band like PANTERA who had internal struggles that were never dealt with out of a sense of toxic masculinity and they broke up out of spite with one another. they battled each other in the press and ultimately cowered to their corners with their respective enablers and hangers-on, never addressing anything in person, man-to-man. in my mind stepping up and speaking your truth and probably more importantly, the act of listening would have been more METAL. but what do i know?
i feel as our culture becomes ever more coarse and driven by wedge issues that seek to divide us, here is an example of a group of men looking each other in the eye dealing with their internal issues directly with begrudging respect. taking control of their behavior. being adults. thats what this film represents to me.
too bad the album ST. ANGER sucked.