Bailout documentary American Casino performs 'a real public service'

Last week, I posted the trailer for Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore's upcoming documentary about the Wall Street bailouts.

Now comes the trailer for Leslie and Andrew Cockburn's American Casino, which promises to be a more thoughtful, nuanced look at how we got into this mess. (You can watch the trailer below.) Business reporter Gary Weiss recently saw a preview and was impressed: "To be frank, I almost expected to be either bored to tears or blasted with overgeneralizations and conspiracy theories. Instead, what I saw was a documentary that performs a real public service."

Interestingly, production for the film began in January 2008 -- before the collapses of Bear Stearns, AIG, or Lehman Brothers, and before most people had even started thinking about subprime mortgages. That shows two things: that the filmmakers had the foresight and understanding to see that the economy would melt down spectacularly, and that director Leslie Cockburn could follow the decline of real people's fortunes in real time, instead of picking up amid the rubble. "We were able to follow our characters through Wall Street's collapse, foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness," Cockburn has said. "We watched whole neighborhoods ravaged by the subprime meltdown."

The film opens in New York this week. You can sign up here to receive an e-mail update when the DVD is released.

American Casino movie trailer from Leslie and Andrew Cockburn on Vimeo.

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