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Assault on Wall Street - A Review

May 21st, 2013

Michael Collins

Assault on Wall Street glorifies the revenge killing of Wall Street big wigs by a seemingly decent man who lost everything, including his wife, due to the manipulation and fraud of those he gunned down.

Combat veteran and armored car driver, Jim Baxford reaches a hefty body for this sort of thing. He's got nothing on the last three presidents of the United States who bear responsibility for military actions leading to the deaths of several hundred thousand civilians in the Middle East and North Africa.

Baxford's actions are part of a larger social acceptance of violence as a solution to political and personal challenges. This film is not about class warfare. It narrates in detail the losses and pain that Baxford and his wife suffer, why he holds the Wall Streeters accountable, and how he gets his revenge on his own. (Image)

Written and directed by Uwe Boll and produced by Lynnpark Productions of Canada, the film offers an all-American series of horrors that fell on many ordinary citizens but rarely as hard as those horrors fell on the Baxford's.

Jim and Rosie are a thirty something couple under huge pressure. Rosie is recovering from brain cancer that responded to treatment but she needs more medical attention. Financial hardship compounded the suffering. Rosie's income was lost and things were a tight on Jim's salary as an armored car driver. Nevertheless, Jim has the money to pay for Rosie’s treatment, which will secure her recovery and allow her to have the couple’s first child.

We see Rosie with her doctor, receiving treatment, and taking injections. Jim is with her every step of the say.

Counter posed to this real drama, we get an inside view of a big brokerage operation on Wall Street. Jeremy Stancroft (John Heart), the firms CEO, lets his lieutenants know the score in no uncertain terms. The company is about to tank due to bad investments in derivatives, risky financial products that led to the 2008 financial collapse.

Rather than play it straight, Stancroft makes it clear that the survival of the firm is paramount, customers be damned. "Our goal is saving this house. F… all the others!" Stancroft orders his brokers to sell off the firm's bad derivatives for added bonuses. They're more than happy to comply. (Remaining images)

The losses the firm suffered from bad investments are deliberately shifted to long-term brokerage customers. Sound familiar?

That’s the set up for the dialog between rapacious, sociopathic Wall Streeters plus their enablers on one side and the Boxford's on the other. Whose side are you on?

Jim finds out that his insurance won't cover the "experimental treatment" Rosie needs. No problem, he says, I've got the money in an investment account. After treatment is underway, Jim finds out that the funds are gone. He bought the bad paper from a broker who had done well for him in the past.

Jim seeks help from his broker, who says tough luck. Jim hires an attorney who takes $10,000 and does nothing. The assistant district attorney who promised to investigate does nothing.

In short order, Jim faces bankruptcy due to an inability pay his medical bills, the loss of his job due to the negative credit alerts on nonpayment, eviction, and the death of his wife at her own hand. Convinced that she's a burden, Rosie kills herself.

Rosie's death is the turning point. Jim ruminates for a period then hauls out his service issued rifle and goes to work. He shoots three of those personally responsible for his plight; one on the porch of his mansion while enjoying a rare wine, no doubt, in the company of a lovely woman, decades younger.

The culmination of the film takes place in the investment bank - brokerage office of Wall Street wizard Jeremy Stancroft. The firm is doing well after off loading their losses to the "little people." That win ends quickly and so does the film. No need to spoil the ending that includes a plot twist that promises more of the same from director Boll.

taxicomp

Use Boll wrote and directed this film. It's plodding but thorough with a step-by-step broad indictment of the various horrors the financial elite have handed out to millions of citizens. Baxford is like a modern day Job who quickly morphs into Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Job couldn't go gunning for God after all, but Baxford was, at some point, trained to kill.

John Heard does a fine job as the greedy investment banker. His unapologetic greed is well played and a nice set up that carries the action forward. Dominic Purcell is as good a choice as any for the role of the assault rifle avenger. Purcell played Lincoln Burroughs, wrongly imprisoned by the financial elite's shadow government in the epic series Prison Break.

Jim's wife is played with a tragic flair Erin Karpluck. The best friends played by Ed Furlong (American History X), Larry David, and Michael Pare couldn't be better buddies.

But, this is no buddy film. It's about one man's suffering and his choice to seek a violent solution to his problems on his own. There's no class warfare. In fact, Jim emerges into the killer he becomes through a solitary research process that unveils the corruptions of Wall Street and the big banks. There isn't even a hint about what the fraudsters have done to millions. It's all about Jim and his suffering.

Around the time of the Wall Street collapse, there were stories about Wall Streeters buying guns for self-protection from the masses they swindled. They'll probably be at gun shows soon loading up again. But, they have nothing to worry about. Didn't those well-funded studies show that films and television have little influence on real acts of violence? Weren't we told that there is no connection between what people see in a film and what they do in real life?

END

This article may be reposted with attribution of authorship and a link to this article.

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