By Michael Rechtshaffen
2 hours, 51 minutes ago
But this smartly assembled wake-up call concerning the
nation's lousy spending habits proves to be as unexpectedly
spirited as it is dispiriting.
Updated from the version screened this year at Sundance,
the eye-opening film should be able to overcome potential
audience reluctance by capitalizing on good word-of-mouth after
it opens Friday (August 22) via Roadside Attractions.
Directed by Patrick Creadon, who put an energetic spin on
the New York Times crossword puzzle in his 2006 film
"Wordplay," the new documentary takes its cue from the book
"Empire of Debt," by Addison Wiggin and William Bonner, and
clocks in at a tight 90 minutes.
Creadon successfully overlays a relatable human face
against the inevitable barrage of facts and red-inked figures
in the form of Dave Walker, the former U.S. comptroller
general, who, along with Concord Coalition executive director
Robert Bixby, travels the country, town crier-style, on a
Fiscal Wake-Up Tour.
Walker, whose voice-over ominously kicks things off with
the contention that "the most serious threat to the United
States is not someone hiding in a cave in Afghanistan or
Pakistan but our own fiscal irresponsibility," helps to make
the economics primer surprisingly accessible, as do those
colorful graphics and lively film and TV clips.
Also on hand to help explain the trajectory of a federal
debt that has escalated to more than $9.6 billion and ticking
are former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, former
Treasury Secretaries Paul O'Neill and Robert Rubin and fiscally
responsible billionaire Warren Buffett, all of whom believe
there might still be a bit of light at the end of this gloomy