The wife and I have been on a documentary swing this month, and last night gave us In Debt We Trust. What do I think?
Ehhh. I have to admit that we’ve probably done more reading/viewing on the credit industry than most people our age, but I thought I would at least learn a few new things. Didn’t happen. There just wasn’t anything striking or surprising to me. The less than righteous credit industry deserves the flak it gets, and I think this film should have gone further.
Danny Schechter, the filmmaker, also serves as the Michael Moore-ish host. It doesn’t work for me. He’s not an unlikable guy, but he’s not the guy I’d put in front of the camera when making a persuasive topic piece. Near the end, he does a long speech to the camera…but his eyes are 90% closed. I know the lights are bright, but c’mon, it’s really distracting to wonder if he’s asleep on his feet.
My other complaints were the stock footage and photography. Schechter says, in the film, that the project cost him 10k. That seems high for the film I watched. The 50’s ephemeral footage is public domain content from the Prelinger Archives, and the majority of still photos used were badly pixelated. Were they taken directly from google images? Sure looks that way. Either pay for high-res stock or contact the photographers and explain your situation, and why you deserve a discounted rate. Stolen internet images look like ass and totally distracted a film guy like me.
Overall, good message (though not surprising to me), mediocre production value. I won’t recommend this others – there are better credit docs out there.