American Casino | Chicago Reader

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In terms of monetary scale, no heist thriller could ever compete with this probing documentary about the subprime mortgage scandal and the financial services industry’s greedy embrace of a $12 trillion taxpayer bailout. Longtime muckrakers Andrew and Leslie Cockburn (brother and sister-in-law of Nation columnist Alexander Cockburn) interview a handful of money guys—all white—who explain the dizzying complexities of the subprime market and mortgage-backed securities, conceding their own big winnings with miens that range from mild sheepishness to chuckling nonchalance. The street-level effects of their chicanery are evident in the profiles of miserable Baltimore home owners—all black—who were targeted by the mortgage industry, sucked in by predatory lending practices, and ruined by foreclosure. A more tightly edited version of this would have packed more punch, but the movie manages to get its arms around a complicated story that constitutes one of the great moral outrages in U.S. history. 89 min.
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