SCREENED AT SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL, WORLD PREMIERE
documentary which focuses on america as a debitor nation – both as a people and as a government. it addresses some of the causes and effects of this lifestyle.
the film opens with a moving interview of an upper class woman from the las vegas area. she talks about having to spend money to make money and how much credit has helped her invest in real estate and make amazing profits. from here the film builds its base of interviewees – two mothers whose college aged kids were swamped with debt, a pawn shop proprietor, dave ramsey (the dr. phil of finance), a couple of debt buyers (the guys who call you incessantly to collect owed debts), and a few others. the filmmakers give a people’s view of the subject and, as a result, seem to neglect the issue of personal responsibility a bit. certainly there are plenty of corporate and social forces acting against the average and below average person, but most of the film characterized the debtors as people who had fallen on hard times or had been taken advantage of by a credit card company. at its worst, the film demonizes creditors and their goons to the point of almost calling them murderers. this was the major weakness of the film because it undermines some of the more compelling factual evidence that the filmmakers present.
i’ve been in pretty deep (relative to my salary) debt and i have had people close to me in deep enough debt to file for bankruptcy so i know what debt can be about. the film explores the extremes of debt well and documents the causes just as well. that said, there was a pbs piece done on this subject that was just as in depth and lacked some of the emotional stretches that this film exhibited. while the film is heartfelt i don’t know if this is the subject for this kind of emotion. instead there needs to be education and regulation. that said, the film probably provides more education than many high school grads have on the subject.Watched in theater Watched on TV