An Unsubtle Agenda Undermines Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve’s Reasonable Message


Jim Bruce’s Money for Nothing: Inside the Federal Reserve is yet another postmortem on the financial crisis. Predicated in part on the notion that almost nobody knows just what the Fed actually does—which, sure, fair enough—the film’s efforts to inform are undermined by its serious grudge against the institution Ron Paul so desperately wants us to audit. In addition to interviews with experts filling us in on what our central banking system has been up to for the last century, and voiceover narration courtesy of Liev Schreiber, the film brings its point home with political cartoons, Daily Show clips, and close-ups of teetering Jenga blocks foretelling ruin. Even when everything onscreen sounds perfectly reasonable (and much of it does), it’s hard not to feel as though you’re being worked—since the filmmakers’ position on the matter is easy to glean based on the title alone, you want them to come right out and say it rather than have Schreiber allude to the Fed’s decades of mismanagement in increasingly calculating language. (“Greenspan had been hitting home runs for so long that he thought he couldn’t fail,” the omniscient Schreiber tells us near the end.) Bruce may succeed in making you wary of the Fed, but, unfortunately, he’s also likely to make you wary of his film.