Release Date: March 9th, 2007 (Cinema Village) by Truely Indie.
Directed by James D. Scurlock.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the significant credit card debt in America.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Just when you thought that only politics is corrupt, Maxed Out makes a convincing, provocative argument that credit card companies and banks are doing everything in their corruptive powers to extend more and more credits to vulnerable households which, in turn, leads to more debt. They primarily pick on people with low income who would be more tempted to borrow money in hopes of striking it rich one day. However, quite often, these poor people can’t even manage to pay back the loan. Elizabeth Warren, an economics professor at Harvard Law School, states the alarming yet quite valid observation that a middle class no longer exists anymore; there’s only a small minority of wealthy households while everyone else is part of the lower class. Credit card companies also prey on new college students, such as a one particular student who opened a credit card account without her parents’ knowledge and ended up heavily indebted. Director James D. Scurlock includes more interviews which continue to show the corruption and greed of credit card companies on consumers, but it gradually feels repetitive and unsurprising. He loses a bit focus when he sheds light on suicides or attempted suicides of people in heavy debt. It’s alright to make such a controversial argument that heavy debt can lead to feeling worthless and, perhaps, suicidal, but Scurlock doesn’t take that far enough—i.e. through interviews with socio-psychologists. He relies too much on the wisdom of Elizabeth Warren without adequately analyzing and synthesizing all of the compelling points that she makes or suggesting possible solutions to the issue of credit card debt.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: After watching Maxed Out, you’ll certainly think twice before using your credit card again. You’ll, hopefully, be a smarter consumer by not giving in to the temptations of accepting credit loans so readily. It would have been more insightful to explore how it might be possible in a practical way to finally mind the gap between the rich and poor which would reestablish the very essential middle class.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally redundant and not enough synthesis.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: Compelling and alarming, but slightly redundant and lacking proper synthesis of all the facts and opinions.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "M" Menu