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||IMDB Rating: 6.4/10 from 5,383 votes
||Release: 3 September 2010 (USA) /
||Director: Heidi Ewing,
||Stars: Alisha Nagarsheth, Barry Eisler, Bill Gates, Blaire Whitney, Dan Chen, Greg Crowe, James Ransone, John D. Rockefeller, Lian Toni Amado, Melvin Van Peebles, Morgan Spurlock, Rahmel Long, Sarah Croce, Tempestt Bledsoe, Zoe Sloane
||Synopsis: The field of economics can study more than the workings of economies or businesses, it can also help explore human behavior in how it reacts to incentives. Economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner host an anthology of documentaries that examines how people react to opportunities to gain, wittingly or otherwise. The subjects include the possible role a person's name has for their success in life, why there is so much cheating in an honor bound sport like sumo wrestling, what helped reduce crime in the USA in the 1990s onward and we follow an school experiment to see if cash prizes can encourage struggling students to improve academically. Written by Kenneth Chisholm ([email protected])
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Watch Freakonomics - Alternative Versions.
I'll admit from the off that I was skeptical regarding this documentary
ever since I first heard it was in production. Having read the book, I
felt that what made it enjoyable could not really be transposed onto
film. Economics, being such a science of numbers, even in its
freakonomic form, does not really lend itself to being narrated to
Going beyond this limitation, I reckon the film could have still been
better, had it found a unity of tone. Unfortunately, as several
different teams were involved with making each of the four chapters,
the final experience is heavily fragmented and unlike the book, which
kept its pacing throughout, the film is all over the place.
The first part basically looks at whether there is some sort of
correlation between a person's first name and the path one goes through
life. A potentially amusing segment, it proves to be in search of a
comic sense it never arrives at and the examples taken from the book
appear wholly unrealistic and not fully integrated.
The second part is quite dark and brings forth a sort of investigation
into the Sumo world and allegations of match-rigging. Contextualized in
the sacrosanct culture that defines the sport, this exploration of
truth, justice and fair-play toys around with big words and complex
issues, its reach ultimately exceeding its grasp.
The third part references dear old Romania and our beloved dictator's
policy of ruling abortions illegal - a subject matter dealt with
artistically in the well-known "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days". I'm not
quite sure the parallel proves a point, because it tries to show how
the opposite policy, legalizing abortion in the US following Roe v
Wade, caused a sudden, steep reduction in crime in the early nineties.
Ironically enough, the generation Ceausescu (the dictator referenced
above) forcibly gave birth to, so to say, caused his downfall. Yet, I
think this segment points out an interesting observation, even if one
could get distracted by the overly dramatic narration.
The last part is an on-film experiment about trying to find an
incentive to make kids get better grades in high-school by offering
financial rewards. Unfortunately, the set-up lacks any authentic feel
and implicitly does not help support the case that the authors tried to
So overall it would seem that almost all segments have at least one
fundamental issue that they don't tackle very well. At times the film
livens due to the interesting nature of the facts being presented, but
on the whole it's still shy of a successful venture. Even while reading
the book I felt that the novelty seeped out of it before I had reached
its end and this feeling was only exacerbated in the documentary.
I don't think this is the place to debate the correctness of the
research Levitt and Dubner have done or their conclusions, because the
film certainly does not offer a strong basis to work on. The book has a
scientific feel to it, conferring at least a sense of objectivity and,
more importantly, finding the levity to show that it does not assume to
offer absolute answers. The documentary, on the other hand, loses sight
of this and never manages to find its proper balance.
Tags for Freakonomics Full Movie
, Barry Eisler
, Bill Gates
, Blaire Whitney
, Dan Chen
, Greg Crowe
, James Ransone
, John D. Rockefeller
, Lian Toni Amado
, Melvin Van Peebles
, Morgan Spurlock
, Rahmel Long
, Sarah Croce
, Tempestt Bledsoe
, Zoe Sloane
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