Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2017)
Critic Consensus: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail transcends its less-than-dramatic trappings to present a gripping real-life legal thriller with far-reaching implications.
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Critic Reviews for Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
It's a slice of recent history that still has yet to become a part of the collective consciousness, but Abacus aims to play a small part in rectifying that.
The personalities make the picture, and James' camera presence is such that "Abacus" never seems to gin up or theatricalize anyone's thoughts or behavior.
"Abacus" is probably the only film made in the past decade that could get an audience rooting for a bank, but it does just that.
Using drawings and courtroom testimony, James creates a tense courtroom drama out of seemingly dry material.
Steve James's impressively economical documentary folds together the events that led to the case, the place of Abacus in the Chinese-American community, the 2015 trial, and its aftermath.
Audience Reviews for Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
A really good example of how to make a cohesive documentary that touches on so many aspects of a legal case and yet never loses its focus or feels superficial, becoming even quite touching and tense as we realize what is at stake for this family who needs to prove their innocence.
The most interesting thing here is the way the narrative frames the fallout from the '08 Financial Crisis. The public and the Government's thirst for vengeance coupled with an unwillingness to go after those who were really responsible meant that somebody had to be offered as a sacrifice . . . And Steve James isn't afraid to explore the obvious racism in the targeting of the Sung family.
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