An ex-Python leading a group of Muppet-like puppets in explaining the financial crash of 2008? Boom Bust Boom certainly sounds like an interesting watch when written on paper, but that doesn’t make it an absolutely vital account of that disaster all those years ago. Thanks to a wealth of economists and professors giving their own accounts and theories based on what caused the event, Boom Bust Boom certainly informs the viewer, no doubt about that. However, as you watch Boom Bust Boom, you’re left wondering whether or not this film becomes the very thing it’s often parodying.
Boom Bust Boom sees Terry Jones and co-director/writer Bill Jones team up with Economics professor Theo Kocken and gather a group of top economics experts from various fields to determine the 2008 crash’s genesis and its impact. Throughout, it’s made clear that much of the damage was pretty much done by a lot of middle class white males. This is explained by a lot of… middle class white males, albeit in puppet form.
Here you have Boom Bust Boom’s main problem – the tragedy of the middle class male in contributing to the economic crash is sympathised with, degraded by, and simply spelled-out by the middle class male. In a nutshell, the majority of professors and bankers who contribute to the documentary explain that the crash was simply history repeating itself, and the inevitability of it doing so time and time again. The fact that this is all presented to us by pretty much the same person for just over an hour unintentionally emphasises this point!
Another factor that drags Boom Bust Boom down is its use of puppets. Sure, they’re amusing enough to watch explain the crash, but do Terry and Bill figure the only way they can effectively explain the crash to anyone who doesn’t have a degree in economics is through the art of goofy puppets? Are they there to add a bit of colour to what is otherwise a sausage-fest of casually-suited Caucasian men discussing figures and numbers?
Boom Bust Boom is an eloquent depiction of where everything went wrong, but it’s also something of an awkward reminder of how easily it can all go wrong again. It doesn’t reaffirm one’s faith in the bankers of this world by any means, just because all the experts on banking know exactly why it went wrong and how it can happen once more. Should another economic crash occur again, you can not help but picture the economic experts tutting quietly in their offices or studies, mumbling “I told you so” under their breaths. If they’re such experts, one would think prevention, rather than an unstable cure, is long overdue.
BOOM BUST BOOM / CERT: 12A / DIRECTORS: TERRY JONES, BILL JONES, BEN TIMLETT / SCREENPLAY: TERRY JONES, THEO KOCKEN / STARRING: JOHN CUSACK, TERRY JONES, PAUL MASON, JOHN CASSIDY, ANDY HALDANE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW