Four Horsemen (2012) Poster


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A must see!
racing_champ10 May 2013
A really good and worthwhile documentary that scratches the surface and point out directions. It's all over the Internet by now so take your time and rewind and dig deeper on your own. The gold standard and abolishing of income taxes might be areas that can be further explained, and the terrorist section needs to take religious fanatism into account.

It's most important message is that we all need to understand the current unsustainable economic system and collectively take responsibility and start the changes from beneath.

And as a side note: I don't know what film user "rune-andresen" have seen, but it can't have been this one.
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Seek This Film Out!
john50503 November 2012
There's so much in 4 HORSEMEN. Yes it is talk-heavy, very densely- presented in places but it makes brilliant connections.

It's like the big-idea documentaries by Adam Curtis. It's provocative and deliberately big picture. Some of the above crits feel petty in this regard, the point is to stay global.

It's also gripping & urgent. It squares up to the biggest crisis we're facing and has much to say that is fresh.

Surprisingly, it was also been made in the UK on a shoestring. Not that you could tell.

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A must see documentary
mariebolens16 March 2012
I had the opportunity to go to the Four Horsemen UK premiere in London and I've been positively surprised.

The documentary is done in an artistic way and the animations very pleasant to watch. So as soon as the film starts you are captivated by its energy. Nothing to see with some boring and interminable documentary.

The different interviewees speak out without sensationalism. Although the film has an opinion, it is also full of irrefutable facts. And you don't need to have a high level of economics knowledge because everything is done to make understanding some complex concepts.

So this documentary can touch everybody. As well the people who question about the current or future problems in the world that people who are just interested in good documentary features.

I can just advise you to watch it! First because the film rocks and also because this is the kind of film which leaves you plenty of ideas.
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Provocative and worthy but with some serious weaknesses
rogerdarlington15 September 2012
"Four Horsemen" is the debut feature from writer and director Ross Ashcroft and the four parts of this documentary address the banking crisis, the terrorism threat, worldwide poverty and ecological collapse respectively. While worthy, well-intentioned and (mostly) well-evidenced, for the non-political, this critique of rampant capitalism is probably heavy going with lots of talking heads - no less than 23 experts, including many senior economists and academics, express their trenchant views.

The film seems to have been popular in film festivals and indeed I saw it at the first London Labour Film Festival where it was applauded at the end, but it has some major deficiencies.

First, it is overly ambitious in scope and should perhaps have concentrated simply on the crisis of the banking sector. The links between the four threats were not always made clear and the section on terrorism was particularly weak and over simplistic. Second, the policies promulgated at the end - while rooted in a pro-capitalist position intended to be 'realistic' - involve some outrageously fanciful notions such as returning to a gold standard and abolishing income tax. I would like to know more about Ross Ashcroft and the funding of this work which might explain the source of these odd notions. Third, at no point in either the analysis or the prescription does the film acknowledge that economic and societal change does not start with institutional reform but with the organisation of workers, consumers and citizens. Real change comes through people working together in political parties, trade unions, pressure groups, and social movements.

For all these weaknesses, "Four Horsemen" does make you think and will engender much-needed debate about the urgent need to reform radically our ideas on how we create, consume and distribute wealth and how we regulate and control the institutions involved.
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99 truths let down by old lies.
richieoh25 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
When a documentary attempts to tackle the most important issues of a generation, from financial instability, to environmental degradation and terrorism, it really needs to be backed up with a lot of solid research. Unfortunately, Four Horsemen hopelessly fails to live up to its ambitions. It touches on everything from the decline of empires, to the expansion of credit and disastrous banking deregulation.

It rightfully highlights the asset bubbles, the failures of foreign aid and the counter productive nature of much of the west's foreign policy. But touch is the generous word, as most issues are addressed with little more than a talking head tied together with some slick animation and stock footage. The film is strongest when stating the obvious, highlighting the offences of the banking industry, the predatory lending and illegal foreclosures. Indeed, when describing exactly what is wrong, Four Horsemen takes few risks and lands some critical blows, a welcome reintroduction for a debate that is most conspicuous by its absence.

But the first warning sign for the film is when the entire history of human economics is framed in the terms of Classical versus Neoclassical, followed by the pushing of quite extreme Libertarian pet causes proposed as the only possible solutions. It marks wholly disingenuous connections regarding the glory days of the gold standard and becomes almost comical when it praises FDR on one hand and then claims 'income tax is inherently unconstitutional' on the other.

A few quotes from the US Constitution and a lecture on the decline of morality, and the whole film starts to feel like a Ron Paul 2012 direct to YouTube creation. Then when casual remarks drop like: 'perhaps global warming isn't the greatest threat to our planet, but the depletion of resources', (a statement that so comprehensively against mainstream scientific opinion which contends we cannot afford to burn even the oil we have found), and the film starts to make Zeitgeist appear the model of impartial reasoning.

When this is rapidly followed by 'all foreign aid is bad', suddenly the minuscule on screen presence of the most lauded guests, such highly respected development economic Ha-Joon Chang (who appears on screen just twice for a total of about sixty seconds), and the motives behind the recurring presence of the gold and silver traders becomes a little clearer. The producers of Four Horsemen may be well meaning, and who isn't rightfully outraged at the 'heads we win, tails you lose' attitude of Goldman Sachs and their ilk, or the ridiculous disconnect between real wages and real estate prices? I also doubt the proposition that 'we need more employee owned businesses' would ever lose a show of hands outside a GOP convention.

But overflowing as the film is with justified indignation, the proposed solutions have all the hallmarks of a stock Libertarian: 'tax is theft, government is bad' economic thesis, albeit cleverly packaged to sneak in front of a left leaning cinema audience.
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Excellent and informative doc - but is it plagiarism?
helenthomson7718 April 2012
There are all sorts of rumours flying about as to the authorship of this film.

Read the article: 'A Tale Of Plagiarism – I Wrote One Of The Year's Most Acclaimed Documentaries, Not That You'd Know It' on the Bleeding Cool website.

No matter, as to someone who doesn't understand finance but is interested, this is a great documentary.

Robert Zak, of Best For Film describes Four Horsemen as 'one of the clearest and most demystifying attempts at guiding us through the alien landscape of economics.'

Watch an extract of the film by going to YouTube and searching Fiat Money.
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good description of the problems, flawed solutions
robtromp23 April 2016
This is worth watching more for it's cautionary value than it's message. It does a good job describing what has become of America since the Great Depression, but bases it's viewpoint on the naive idealism of the libertarian - blaming the problem on straying from "classical" economics and advocating a return to the gold standard and demonizing debt as the root of all evil. At least it admits that regulation is a good thing. It does do a good job of pointing out that libertarians and progressives share a fair amount of common ground, and might make a reasonably functional coalition against the establishment neocons and neolibs, who have already started becoming very friendly with each other, as evidenced by the current primary election shenanigans.
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The real Zeitgeist
varelse-126 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This movie captures the real spirit of the time. Without conspiracy theories, Illuminati and even without radical ideas it presents the causes and solutions to the problems we're facing today. It is like the Zeitgeist movies but much more logical and insightful. Instead of provoking fear it provokes thought - going as far back in time as the collapse of the Roman empire and as far in the future as the collapse of the Western global empire. Which is actually just around the corner. There are no secret societies, aliens, demons or specific ethnic groups that are to blame. The problem is in the system and if we remove its head it will just grow another one. The problem is in all of us and all of us are to blame for tolerating the system. And change is not so difficult. The movie offers classical, realistic and tested solutions like the gold standard of money and taxation based on consumption and resource extraction instead of income. And there's optimism in the end. Just like Guthenberg changed the world and ended so much suffering with a simple invention - the printing press, another invention is now causing a new Reformation and Enlightenment. The internet is the new printing press and neoclassical capitalism is the new feudalism and the new Inquisition it is fighting. In the end ideas prevail over greed. Perhaps this time it will happen with less bloodshed.
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Wrong in one crucial aspect - GOLD
bmradux18 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Truly impacting statements from people who have been in, or close to, positions of power, +great thinkers,denouncing the way things work up-top and the deficits and unsustainability of our global financial and political constructs. BUT - I certainly frowned at about 10% of the movie. Yes, fiat money is baaad. But do these reborn visionaries really suggest, we should go back to the gold standard? Because of the predictable grow mining of gold? REALLY? WTF? Civil society in my country just dodged a bullet, stopping big-money corporate interests, political corruption, etc that comes with opening up "the biggest gold mine in Europe". Vast landscapes destroyed, a cyanide lake for centuries to come, broken up communities, increased health risk in the area is what gold mining leaves behind. I invite the readers, and "visionaries" in this film to google the images of a few gold mines. Does his f*** up planet need more goldmines just to store yellow metal in vaults? Is this the forward-thinking way you suggest? An e-currency like Bitcoin, if regulated, can achieve exactly the same predictable economical stability effect like mined gold. So really, dig on that a bit, and welcome my rating of 3, that would otherwise have been a nine. This aspect is simply unforgivable.
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Weak -- same format, no originality--
OCACIA-14 December 2013
The Corporation-- seen it, End of Poverty --Seen it. Inside Job--seen it This social conscious genre is starting to all having in the same exact people saying the same exact things done the same exact tired way. Even the cover art is like the Corporation. How many more films on Sub-prime immorality?

The Voice over and the script for the narration is solid but let down by the format. And the same face contribute very little to the story to make this unique. The best themes seem under explored. The old ones over explored (again).

Someone said it was shot on a budget, but you do not need much money to shoot talking heads on a black background. How many times will this try cookie cutter filmmaking format visit us?
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Not a socialist treatise on the iniquities of capitalismp
davidjaldred23 January 2020
I do wish I'd watched this five or six years-ago - but maybe I wouldn't have appreciated it then. It's a little bit like 'Zeitgeist' except that it's all real, with genuine experts who - bar one, are cart carrying capitalists, so it isn't some socialist treatise on the iniquities of modern capitalism - it's a capitalist treatise on the iniquities of modern capitalism. It explains our parlous predicament very clearly, and suggests how we might be able to survive it and prepare ourselves for the future that we all sense is coming.
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Negatives aside, it's totally worth watching.
kelly-venner22 October 2016
FOUR HORSEMEN is an interesting documentary, well worth a watch for most..

As reviewers have mentioned, yes, it does try to cover a few too many topics in just over 90 minutes. But for the average person, a lot of the longer, more conspiratorial, more biased 'world order' YouTube documentaries are far too long and convoluted.

Stylistically, it won some plus points with me for the smooth, easy to understand narration, but lost some for, as others have said, the slight lack of cohesion between sections, points and arguments.

One last downside - on reflection, although I enjoyed the upbeat tone of the conclusion in that 'all is not lost, we can actually change things', I agree with others that the solutions put forward are potentially not viable. That said, I think some reviewers denigrate it unfairly, a documentary is meant to document the truth and put forward observations, a narrative - the documentary makers (especially these who are not huge mainstream corporates) do not make the policy, and are not even influencing those who do, so I think it's acceptable for them to put forward suggestions, right or wrong, for the viewer to look into.

FOR THE POSITIVES! Overall, this documentary should probably be, in part at least, viewed by 90% of western civilisation who are not in finance or government and have no idea that this is going on. Those of you watching this or planning on it probably already have an idea, but think of how many around you really believe what their politicians tell them - we all know plenty.

Whether you agree with every opinion demonstrated or not, it's an eye-opening and worthy use of 90 minutes.
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Logical errors and missing story boarding
rune-andresen29 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The good: Four Horsemen has a few good punch lines. Furthermore, some of the photography/scenes are not too bad.

The very bad: There are several logical errors in this movie. The storyboarding is totally absent. I wonder if the move makers understand their own message. They did not justify or explained their claims in the movie. I give you some examples of their claims:

  • The West Civilization is ending because we are in general more interested in sex, we endorse our chefs in reality television programs etc.

  • Wall street and their banks are guilty in all poverty in the world. The architects behind the deregulated Wall Street are called "modern Neocapitalism economists" – with "evil leaders" such as Ronald Reagan and Thatcher as examples. The greatest evil of them all is of course Goldman Sachs (The CEO must be the devil himself).

  • They are also the guilty ones for terrorism: They make farmers poor, that justify them to be terrorists.

  • Actually, all banks are evil – They produce all the money they want and create inflation.

  • All infrastructure build in the Third World, financed by Wall Street and their fellow evils, will not benefit anyone else than Wall Street (regards to interest rate). The new infrastructure will not help the local economy grow at all.

  • The only solution to the world's problem is to roll back to the classic economy, to reintroduce the gold standard – the standard economic unit of account is a fixed weight of gold. Hence, we should reintroduce the ideas of Adam Smith.

  • Talking about Adam Smith, we should reintroduce the principle that tax on income equals slavery. The solution is tax on natural resources.

  • Also the pharmaceutical industry is evil, speculating in dying people in Africa - And so on..

If any of this is the truth, the solution would have been very easy. Let's remove Goldman Sachs, and we would be rid of all problems in the world over night.

Probably this movie only appeals to very idealistic young girls, member of the local communist party as a protest to their parents. For everyone else, save your money and time (or at least have a good laugh).

If nothing else, at least this movie demonstrates that economy and finance is not easy to understand, not even for academics, on the contrary. Without common sense, it is very easy to misunderstand.
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more solution
rpsabq1 March 2015
This is a well done, top notch documentary on the problems of the world, specifically the American Culture. There have been other docs made as well equally as informative. However, like the others is just more about the problem. Ah Media, when you all realize how much power you have to influence, you will begin using that power for the betterment of us all. Spend time on the problem and you perpetuate that. Spend time on the solution and you perpetuate that. I challenge you, now, to spend just as much time if not more on a documentary showcasing the solution because right now we have way too much momentum going in the "woe is me" direction. Oh Media, you also must realize that YOU are The Solution. It is up to us only to continue to make you aware of that power, for you are after all, the Voice of the People. Until you realize and act on such power, all we can do is focus on the solution as it applies to our own small, tiny, individual universe. For I can only affect my life and my world, your life and your world are your responsibility. It's just the way its meant to be. Alas Media, we call you to step up and use your mighty strength for all that positive and good.
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Unnecessary critic made above... Documentary was average but...
ammarshk21 July 2016
Warning: Spoilers
They are also the guilty ones for terrorism: They make farmers poor, that justify them to be terrorists.

--> You have a well known Najma Sadeque; a researcher and prominent women's rights activist "From the World Bank and IMF, and made from grounds from western countries, they;ve all gone (the finances) to benefit the elite and feudal classes. They have not benefited the ordinary people.

Experts from nations who are an authority should be accepted to a certain degree to accept the claims made by John Perkins.

Another example is that of terrorism: Lord Ahmed of Rotherham -First UK ; & Kaiser Bengali an Economist and Adviser to the Chieft Minister of the Government of Sindh.

If they really wanted to flush them out (the terrorists), there was no need for a huge military operation in Swat causing the entire district to become internally displaced persons. The population of Swat is (now) 1.8 million and 2.3 million refugees in the country.

If they really want to get the terrorists then they should have carried out a clandestine operation "...

Well said... This is the height of evidence you can get from any average documentary.
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