enronsun2005story.jpgBy now it seems obvious that the current-events documentary is more than just a benign industrial trend; when done right (and when done by the right, usually white male filmmaker), it's become the American Left's most potent weapon of activism.

But "most potent" is relative; the gold-standard bearer in this arena is, of course, Fahrenheit 9/11, a work of low-blow agit-art that made a huge media splash, but failed to have any real impact on the election it was cobbled together to influence.  Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is destined to become this year's version of that docu-phenomenon; whether or not it'll ultimately leave as anti-climactic of a mark is still uncertain. But Alex Gibney's film has an elegance to it that Michael Moore's does not. There's simply something to be said for a filmmaker who scores a montage on Kenneth Lay's childhood to Billie Holliday's "God Bless the Child", and also takes time out of indicting various Bushes to build an analogy around the Milgram Experiment, which, very much like Enron used electricity to test the limits of human decency. The most impressive aspect of Enron is not necessarily all that Gibney accomplishes within the film's boundaries - it's that, in doing so, he doesn't even seem to be breaking a sweat.