Essential viewing for understanding how banks systematically targeted low income groups in over-leveraged mortgage lending practices that led to a catastrophic economic collapse, "American Casino" is still a far from perfect documentary. Fillmakers Leslie and Andrew Cockburn open up the subprime mortgage crisis by interviewing key corporate players--some concealed in shadows with their voices disguised--while interviewing victims of criminal lending practices that have resulted in a record number of foreclosures across the country. Black residents of Baltimore, where the crisis has hit especially hard, tell heartbreaking stories of how they have been or are in the process of losing their homes. The discussion moves to California where the impact of such foreclosures is shown for its negative effect on public safety from abandoned swimming pools that act as breeding areas for virus-carrying mosquitoes. A heavy-handed use of rap songs distracts from the film's urgent message that the fallout from the crisis is far from over.
Not Rated. 89 mins. (B-) (Three Stars)
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