Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2017) - Rotten Tomatoes

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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Movie Info

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves--and their bank's legacy in the Chinatown community--over the course of a five-year legal battle.

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Critic Reviews for Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (16)

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.

November 28, 2018 | Full Review…

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.

January 25, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

"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.

July 21, 2017 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Using drawings and courtroom testimony, James creates a tense courtroom drama out of seemingly dry material.

June 22, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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.

June 15, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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.

June 8, 2017 | Full Review…

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.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

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