Viewport width =
May 9, 2011 | by  | in Film |
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

Freakonomics

Based on the bestselling book of the same name, Freakonomics is a look at “the hidden side of everything”. The book is comprised of economic articles written by economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen Dubner who apply economic theory to diverse social topics. These topics include cheating by sumo wrestlers, how a child’s name affects its life and the impact of abortion on crime. The overarching ideas are that “incentives matter” and that conventional wisdom should be questioned.

Perhaps this is why Freakonomics: The Movie was produced in such an unconventional way. Separate directors were hired for separate segments while interviews of the two writers provide the focal point. The highlight throughout is the presentation, which keeps the often dry subject matter from boring the audience. The two authors, who are the only constant of the film, have effortless chemistry on screen together.

The section on child names is the most light-hearted, providing a humorous look at naming trends and how your name affects your life. There’re a lot of laughs throughout this section, and cringes at the awful names parents have bestowed upon their unfortunate children. The section “It’s (not always) a wonderful life” argues controversially that the 1971 legalisation of abortion had a profound impact on crime rates in the 1990s. This is the stand out section, clever graphical imagery together with a succinct argument make it hard not to agree with Levitt’s thesis. However, not all sections are of the same quality, the section on sumo corruption in particular is long-winded and weakened by poor subtitles.

Freakonomics mostly captures what made the book such a runaway success: thought-provoking ideas that everyone can relate to and understand. Even though Freakonomics is an enjoyable watch, the question that must be asked is; what is the point? In essence, this is a Cliffnotes version of the book with a few bells and whistles tacked on. If you’ve already read the book, the film is mostly superfluous as there is very little new information. If you haven’t read the book but are intrigued by the concept, then you should just read the book instead. Conventional wisdom tells us that non-fiction books are difficult to adapt to the big screen and Freakonomics reinforces that notion.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestTweet about this on Twitter

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.

Recent posts

  1. An (im)possible dream: Living Wage for Vic Books
  2. Salient and VUW tussle over Official Information Act requests
  3. One Ocean
  4. Orphanage voluntourism a harmful exercise
  5. Interview with Grayson Gilmour
  6. Political Round Up
  7. A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute
  8. Presidential Address
  9. Do You Ever Feel Like a Plastic Bag?
  10. Sport
1

Editor's Pick

In Which a Boy Leaves

: - SPONSORED - I’ve always been a fairly lucky kid. I essentially lucked out at birth, being born white, male, heterosexual, to a well off family. My life was never going to be particularly hard. And so my tale begins, with another stroke of sheer luck. After my girlfriend sugge