New Netflix series shows the ugly truth behind big business
February 22, 2018
Backstabbing, brutish and downright disgusting. That’s pretty much been the American norm in the everadvancing machine of business.
In efforts to dupe consumers and take their money at any costs, corporations go right to their usual toolbelt of chicanery and deception. When that happens, that’s when the documentarians step in.
If that’s something you love, then allow me to introduce “Dirty Money”—the new Netflix show that pulls back the veil on extensive, secretive corporate scandals.
The show’s executive producer is powerhouse documentarian Alex Gibney. Famous for directing films including “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room,” “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” and “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Gibney also directs the first episode.
The episode, titled “Hard NOx,” cracks down on the very recent scandal revolving around Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” technology.
In 2015, VW was exposed for implanting safeguards in their cars. Essentially, the vehicles were able to pass emissions checks, making it appear as though the cars were incredibly eco-friendly.
At the core of the issue was their TDI model, which was marketed in the United States as a safe, fun to drive, green car. Their excitable, familiar nature seemed too good to be true. And it sure was.
These cars were far exceeding emissions limits.
In reality, VW had the full capacity to meet regulations and filter the damaging chemicals that would further molest our already receding ozone layer. However, this was a pricey option for the company, so they souped up their cars’ computers to pass emission tests through false results.
This couldn’t go on unnoticed however, and the company was found out.
After some extensive litigation coming even from the highest ranks of the United States Department of Justice, cars were bought back from customers, and the company had to shell out millions of dollars in efforts to pay off damages from duping American customers.
This massive-scale corruption went, with exception for payments, largely unpunished. Corporate leaders went without any checking of their behavior or crimes. Shocker.
Pissed off yet? Well, that’s just one episode.
Other episodes touch on banks knowingly dealing with cartels, big pharma, faulty loaning corporations and our ever so controversial president.
Sure, maybe its pretty infuriating to see all of these scandals afoot, but what does this show do well? In whole, it’s comprehensive.
Documentaries usually focus on one big issue, creating a wave of awareness and backlash which diminishes quickly as the next big scandal comes up.
“Dirty Money” gives you one big helping of disrepute, parsed out in bite-sized chunks. This casts the idea of corruption as a deep-rooted, widespread issue. Nobody is safe, nobody is innocent.
But let’s look at a more periodical view of this. What “Dirty Money” does best is creating a jarring sense of place and an uncomfortable perspective of the scale of corruption and corporate greed.
The looming, mythic proportions of these scandals is enough to frighten any viewer, goading them deeper into the contemporary whirlwind of “wokeness.”
Is all this necessary? In this day and age, aren’t we angry enough? The only issue I took with this series is whether or not it’s really appropriate right now.
With a virulent political system in place, dozens of wars afoot and a plethora of human rights violations within the direct purview of the media and the people of the world today, do Americans really need further saturation of disrepute shoved in our face?
I think not, in all honesty. But, dear lord, it makes great television.
If you’re looking for another installment of ethical pestilence to overwhelm your senses in our everinfuriating world, “Dirty Money” is the program for you.
Contact Noah Sonnenburg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.