Hank: 5 Years From the Brink

The story of the 2008 financial meltdown has been told once already from the perspective of Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, in the gripping HBO drama Too Big to Fail (starring William Hurt); as a consequence, this highly sympathetic documentary profile of Paulson is slightly redundant, but it’s also more factualized and instructive in its financial detail. Paulson took most of the heat for the Wall Street bailout and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which bought up bad mortgages to stem the real estate crisis, so you can understand why he wants another ticker-tape parade for his cool judgment and grace under pressure. Director Joe Berlinger (the Paradise Lost movies) includes some biographical detail and plenty of commentary from Paulson’s wife, Wendy, to stress the incredible burden laid on him; the subject even has the decency to acknowledge the more incredible burden laid on all of us by his banking buddies, and the fact that they’ve come roaring back with titanic bonuses and compensation packages.