Movie review: Assault on Wall Street - your money or your life

Assault on Wall Street takes on the US economic downturn.

Ayesha Abdul Razzak July 28, 2013
Assault on Wall Street takes on the US economic downturn.

Assault on Wall Street is a cleverly crafted film directed by Uwe Boll, starring Dominic Purcell and Erin Karpluk, that tells the tale of the recent economic downturn in the US.

The content of the film is similar to what was portrayed in Michael Moore’s documentary Capitalism: A Love Story in which the large brokerage houses in New York were involved in a get-rich scheme by persuading their clients to invest in “dead stocks” or investments that did not exist. This practice spiralled out into large malpractice suits across the country and robbed many people of their life savings as the investigations deepened and their investments were put under legal review. Scores of people across the nation lost their homes as they were unable to meet mortgage payments and were either out on the streets or had to declare bankruptcy.

Jim and Rosie Baxford are average New Yorkers, living a simple life, when Rosie is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly the bills pile up and Jim is fired from his job as the debts grow. Forced into an unfair situation Jim takes matters into his own hands and goes on a rampage against the criminal financial institutions that have caused him harm.

Jim Baxford (Dominic Purcell) has an emotive transfer in the film. We see two differing characterisations from the first half (that of a financially strained, over worked and desperate man) to the second half in which he becomes unemployed, grief-stricken but cold and calculating, adopting a robot-like persona.

Rosie Baxford (Erin Karpluk) has a well-etched character. Best known for her role in the Canadian show Being Erica, as Rosie she skilfully manages the desperation of her character by masking it as a calm happy persona. Despite her short-lived appearance in the film, her character leaves a lasting impression.

But it is Jim’s transformation that rivets as does those of the average New Yorkers around him. People start drifting in and out of his little world with Rosie and then that disintegrates — as Rosie gets worse, his lifestyle does as well. Eviction marks a turning point.

Discussing the ending would give it away. But the film’s one irritant is how it wraps up; we are not quite clear what the intelligent police officers are doing. Some kind of resolution would have helped.

Men on a mission

Falling Down

In the 1993 movie Falling Down directed by Joel Schumacher, William Foster (Michael Douglas) is just having a really bad day. After being laid off from his job, he gets stuck in a really bad traffic jam, just when he has to reach his ex-wife’s (Barbara Hershey) home on time for his daughter’s birthday party. Foster slowly unravels mentally and becomes a source of terror to some and a folk hero to others.

He Was a Quiet Man

In the 2007 He was a Quiet Man, Bob Maconel (Christian Slater) is at the end of his emotional rope and finally explodes. He is working in an office building where few people know him and fewer still care. He develops a seething hatred of those around him and carries a gun to work in the hope that he’ll have the courage to use it to take down some of his co-workers one day. That fateful day arrives when a co-workers snaps and opens fire. Bob grabs his weapon and kills the shooter.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, July 28th, 2013.

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