The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

EX­TRAS: None IF a film is rated on its con­tem­po­rary rel­e­vance to the man in the street, rather than on the per­for­mances within it, then this truly fright­en­ing doc­u­men­tary by writer di­rec­tor Pa­trick Creadon and co-writer Chris­tine O’Mal­ley de­serves high marks in­deed. Who among us truly un­der­stands the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis and why the world looks likely to be roy­ally screwed by it? Even PM Kevin Rudd is not above buy­ing into the at­trac­tive no­tion ( at­trac­tive be­cause it ab­solves us and the rest of the world of blame) that some greedy rat­bags on Wall Street, who took huge salaries and fed Mama and Papa USA to the wolves of the sub-prime mort­gage belt, caused it all. Un­hap­pily, the story of the gi­gan­tic and chronic bud­get deficit in the US can be traced back to be­fore Gor­don Gekko, whose 1980s mantra ‘‘ greed is good’’ now rings so hol­low. It has its roots, would you be­lieve, in the 18th cen­tury. The Amer­i­can War of In­de­pen­dence kicked it all off, and by 1789, on the first day of fed­eral gov­ern­ment, the na­tional debt was $ US75 mil­lion, about 30 per cent of GDP. This freaked the Amer­i­can found­ing fathers out of their gourds and they acted quickly to pay it down. They achieved a zero na­tional debt in 1835, for the first and, in­cred­i­bly, the only time in US his­tory. With stun­ning graph­ics and in ev­ery­man lan­guage, this im­por­tant film gets to the heart of the present cri­sis and helps put it in a his­tor­i­cal con­text of greed far be­yond Wall Street.

Ian Cuth­bert­son

( M) Ac­cent ( 85 min­utes) $ 29.95

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