Bank Job, 2021.
Directed by Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell.
Financial institutions are under the spotlight in this eye opening indie film about greed and consumer credit.
Dan Edelstyn and Hilary Powell are not household names. In fact, these film makers are inconsequential alongside their subject matter. Bank Job is important because debt affects everyone eventually. Credit cards offer the illusion of financial freedom, with minimum payments and easy access for almost anyone. In recent years pay day loans have become common place, targeting those who should know better. A situation which this documentary addresses head on.
That the cost of living has increased exponentially while wages have remained static, has forced even those in full time employment to visit food banks lately. Those who now work to eat, perpetually trapped in a circle of escalating repayments is increasing. Bank Job lays out a mission statement then backs it up with some staggering statistics. Beyond the eradication of debt, which is the end game for Dan and Hilary, this documentary celebrates human ingenuity above all else.
It manages to make a very dry subject palatable, by peppering talking heads in amongst the seemingly haphazard structure. Some of these financial experts, including ex-Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, are surprisingly candid. Economies worldwide are defined by credit, hinge on debt and rely on people not paying their bills. Paying off a credit card each month offers no profit margin, no incentive and no penalty. This is why everything has an interest free option attached.
Companies are banking on a universal reluctance to pay up. Some even offer a purchase possibility without any money changing hands. It targets those people who need a fridge, a sofa or a kitchen immediately. Large items which cost more money than most people have in savings. That is often how it starts, but rarely where such things finish. Bank Job shines a light into the darker recesses of debt management, by actively informing its audience in simple terms. That being said, there is a degree of financial jargon but only where essential.
Bank Job is undeniably rough around the ends with production values that lack polish, but its subject matter cuts through all that. Their campaign becomes a national talking point, hijacks the public consciousness and makes some waves. Artwork becomes currency, derelict institutions get a new lease of life and partnerships are forged.
This film is relevant to everyone and should be mandatory viewing for all. Credit cards may feel like an adult essential as they factor into mortgage applications. However, ironically people with access to lots of plastic are deemed more financially stable than someone with none. A misconception most definitely, but one the whole world believes blindly. That system is the starting point for a documentary which embraces financial activism for those deepest in debt. With a universally down to earth cast of characters, this micro budget indie film delivers some hard hitting home truths.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie ★ ★ ★ ★