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  Bank Job Never A Debtor Nor A Lender Be
Year: 2021
Director: Daniel Edelstyn, Hilary Powell
Stars: Daniel Edelstyn, Hilary Powell, various
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Daniel Edelstyn has made a film before, it was critically acclaimed, he says, and he adds, audiences enjoyed it as a creative success. What it did not do was make any money, in fact any profits were eaten up by the fact it took more to make than it gathered at the box office, so essentially David was in debt. Did he allow this setback to get him down? No, he went right ahead and started another film, though raising funds proved difficult when the bank noted his debtor status and were reluctant to give him any more cash. However, this is not the case with everyone who cannot pay their debts - indeed, for the modern financial world to operate, it is vital that paying debts never happens.

All of which gave Daniel his idea for this documentary, part art prank and part expose of the banking industry that buys and sells debt to sustain the world's economy. Along with his partner Hilary Powell, they were inspired to look into what can be done about this precarious set of circumstances which is doing nobody any good but a tiny elite of bankers and businesspeople who rake in trillions of dollars' worth of profit off the guarantee that the less well off, which is just about everyone else, are hamstrung by the money they owe. These debts are bought and sold to raise money not for those who need it, but to keep that global economy going - and line the ample pockets of the financiers. Welcome to modern neoliberalism in action.

Now, Edelstyn and Powell obviously thought, this is an important subject and we can see a way to benefit those most in need, taken from the activists of the Occupy Wall Street movement who did not merely fade away with their tails between their legs, but made a positive difference to wipe away vast amounts of debt that would never be paid back through charities that buy up that debt and write it off, thus freeing those disadvantaged. The duo was not going to be able to do this on a global scale, so opted to keep it local to their London borough of Walthamstow, noting a million pounds worth of money owed that they could help with. They did so with a stunt, printing their own banknotes as artwork that would be bought and raise the cash necessary to fund the operation.

Although Daniel comes across as akin to a children's TV presenter at times, he and Hilary were sincere and had a good, positive idea at their core, though it takes some working out on the part of the viewer as you feel you're not getting the whole picture: there was a tendency to soundbite important elements which may have kept things snappy but sold some of the important information a little short. Nevertheless, it was cheering to see this community band together - the school, the food bank, the youth charity, and so on - and make a real difference, exposing the false, dangerous economy that keeping most of the population in debt can create, so that you leave with a sense of injustice, but also that standing up against this corrupt system is not impossible. Unfortunately, time that could be spent giving us more depth into these matters was abandoned in the final act for some frustrating dealings with another stunt, blowing up a gold van for publicity, which is a needless diversion and takes away from the valuable efforts in the first hour. But Edelstyn and Powell were making a difference otherwise, and you can applaud that.

[BANK JOB is released on the 28th May 2021 in limited cinemas and will be on Curzon also.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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