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
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.
It's not every day that you end up rooting for a bank, but the story "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail" tells is no ordinary tale.
The lack of action is made up for by the gumption of the accused banking family, whose respect for each other is apparent even as they bicker and interrupt each other over trial strategy, press releases and the catered lunch.
Audience Reviews for Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
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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