“Money for Nothing” presents a firm but fair inquiry into the failings of the Federal Reserve both leading up to and following the recent U.S. financial crisis. Editor Jim Bruce (“The King of Kong”) makes his feature helming debut with a thoughtful, detailed chronicle of the Fed’s origins, responsibilities and shifting monetary policies. Wonkish doc only bite off more than it can chew in the aim to spark a populist movement, a far-fetched outcome for a film unlikely to appeal beyond nonfiction and financial junkies.
Bruce takes his cues from Charles Ferguson’s 2010 Oscar winner “Inside Job,” assembling an impressive roster of talking heads — including a dozen past and present Fed officials — to provide insight on what went wrong and why. One voice not heard is former chairman Alan Greenspan, formerly deified and currently demonized for his aversion to financial regulations and belief that the housing market bubble would never burst. Pic asserts Greenspan’s successor Ben Bernanke hasn’t done much better, ignoring long-term problems in favor of short-term victories. The quixotic solution: citizens and lawmakers refocus the Fed with a bit of discipline and sacrifice. Tech contributions are sharp.