Freakonomics (2010)

PG-13   |    |  Documentary


Freakonomics (2010) Poster

A collection of documentaries that explores the hidden side of human nature through the use of the science of economics.


6.4/10
6,703


Videos


Photos

  • Freakonomics (2010)
  • Freakonomics (2010)
  • Freakonomics (2010)
  • Freakonomics (2010)
  • Freakonomics (2010)
  • Freakonomics (2010)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


27 September 2010 | lor_
Uneven, mainly ho-hum documentary
Employing 5 teams of directors (who did not collaborate per the producer's q&a comments), the film adaptation of FREAKONOMICS is a hit-or-miss extravaganza, mostly missing the mark. Even fans of the popular book (and its followups) are unlikely to be stimulated.

Superstar doc director Alex Gibney takes precedence here, and producer Chad Troutwine acknowledged at the post-screening q&a that his segment runs long for some audiences. I found his study of corruption in the ranks of Japan's sumo wrestling rather uninteresting, and Gibney's forced comparisons to the bad boys of Wall Street (Bernie Madoff, etc.) pointless and self-serving.

Movie's most controversial sequence has to be Eugene Jarecki's elaboration of the book's chapter on the causes of the lowered U.S. crime rate in recent decades. As an anti-Giuliani New Yorker I certainly ate up the red meat portion of the footage, indicating that our local self-appointed savior really had nothing to do with the dramatic lowering of the NYC homicide and violent crime rate since around 1989. However, author/economist Steven Levitt's conclusion that, statistically, 50% of the reduction in crime in this country is attributable to Roe v. Wade making abortion legal and readily available to a whole generation beginning in the '70s (causing there to be fewer unwanted kids in existence who might have grown up to become serious criminals 16 to 20 years after) spurious and more a case of grandstanding that solid science. Sure, he controlled for all the relevant variables (areas of the country that had already legalized abortion prior to 1973 vs. the rest of the nation, etc.), but I don't buy it. And worse yet, where does it lead us -to endorse eugenics next?

That segment exemplifies my basic problem with FREAKONOMICS, the publishing phenomenon and now the movie: trying to analyze complex issues from an economic standpoint is simply not applicable to all situations, unless you force it. It is just Levitt applying his expertise willy-nilly in what I take to be self-aggrandizement, and obviously millions of people are taken in by his con. Watching the film I became painfully aware of his heavy emphasis, almost ad nauseum, on the concept of "incentives", which he clearly believes professionally to be a basic way of explaining human behavior. Repeated over & over, the shallowness of this approach becomes quite evident.

There is a very cute segment by Morgan (SUPERSIZE ME) Spurlock on naming children, emphasizing issues with the prevalence of unique (even Uneek as a choice) names within the Black community, but this is also one of the dumber segments by the time all the theories have been trotted out and lampooned. The femme directors Grady & Ewing take on use of cash incentives (there's that word again) to attempt to approve grades and achievement of Chicago Heights ninth graders, but that part of the film struck me as pretty phony, even including a fantasy sequence, though the main protagonist named Urail (another unique name victim) is a winning screen presence.

Seth Gordon, who interviewed Levitt and his co-author, journalist Stephen Dubner at length, comes off best in this documentary since he does only the intros & interstitial segments. Overall, as one naysayer at the q&a perceptively noted, the film is mainly old-hat.

Metacritic Reviews


Critic Reviews



Details

Release Date:

3 September 2010

Language

English


Country of Origin

USA

Box Office

Budget:

$2,900,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$31,893 3 October 2010

Gross USA:

$101,270

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$122,216

Contribute to this page

The Best TV and Movies to Watch in March

Read our editors' picks for the movies and shows we're watching in March, including "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier," Boss Level, and Zack Snyder's Justice League.

Browse our picks

True Crime Documentaries You Need to Watch

Whether you're a true-crime sleuth or just getting started, we have four documentaries from 2020 with unique takes on unraveling true crimes.

Watch the video

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com