Wednesday, September 09, 2015

"Assault on Wall Street": Predictable thriller does carry a big message on inequality, "class warfare"

The B-film “Assault on Wall Street” (2013), directed by Uwe Boll, is as formulaic (in the sense of Screenwriting 101) in piling difficulties onto the protagonist – here, I guess, anti-hero, a Wall Street security guard Jim (Dominic Purcell) – as “it gets”.  Sure, the film is “predictable” (a favorite word of the late Roger Ebert). But it delivers a real political and moral punch at the end.

Jim’s troubles start when his financial planner tells him that most of his portfolio has evaporated into a scam, rather like Bernie Madoff.  Still, Jim is on the hook for the principal.  His lawyer won’t help him because he doesn’t have the upfront cash (or credit score) to sue, even though he would win in court.

His wife has aggressive cancer, and the employer health insurance seems to have high deductibles and caps, so she is refused treatment. In the movie’s “middle”, he finds his wedding ring with a note, before he finds her dead in bed.

Then he loses his home (apparently in Queens, near the Mets stadium) to foreclosure, moves to a rooming house and is on the verge of homelessness.

But he has a lot of skills with weapons.  If he is completely broke, I don’t know how he pays for the arsenal he acquires to mount his accelerating rampage.

The last twenty minutes of the film clearly did not happen in 2008 or any other time, because his rampage is more catastrophic than any that have occurred in the US.  And it is progressive, with executives gunned down by his sniping on Manhattan streets and through windows in midtown skyscrapers across the street.  Finally, he confronts a hedge fund president, and conducts a Machiavelli-like ideological debate with the man, holding him at gunpoint, just before the cops finally arrive. The bank president justifies his stature as the result of “survival of the fittest” and the strong ruling the weak (fascism, rather than what he calls “capitalism”), despite the indirect  dependence of today’s rich on the class and racial abuses of the past (like slavery). At the end, there is a death penalty from the cops, even if by accident.

The official Facebook is here  (Phase 4 films).  The indoor (and some neighborhood) scenes were filmed in Canada (around Toronto).


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