Maxed Out Movie Review

© 2007 Agenda Media Services

Maxed Out is a feature-length documentary about the financial industry, directed by James Scurlock.

If I hadn't already sworn off excessive credit card debt, Maxed Out would have been the thing to make me do so. The movie is the financial industry's Fahrenheit 911 equivalent.

Review

Maxed Out takes an inside look at the financial industry, revealing the industry's drivers and the effects excessive debt can have on consumers.

What Maxed Out does very well is showing viewers the cunning and underhanded tactics that credit card companies and debt collectors use to make profits. These companies are portrayed as merciless predators, preying on the unsophisticated, irresponsible, underprivileged, or all of the above.

When credit card companies are urged to screen customers who are least likely to pay and more likely to cause bankruptcy losses, the response is "Why would we cut out those people? They're our most profitable."

Two mothers talk of their college-aged children, desperate and feeling trapped, who ended their lives because of their overwhelming credit card debt. Meanwhile, debt collectors boast about being "debt pirates" who, figuratively speaking, walk debtors down a plank and bring them back right before they fall off. That way, the collectors say, debtors are willing to pay anything. Only, some consumers actually fall off the plank.

Seeing Maxed Out will certainly make you think twice about swiping your credit card, about skipping your credit card payment for a month, anything that might lead to a call from a debt collector.

Viewers who already feel overwhelmed with their debt might conclude there's no way out after watching this movie.

Maxed Out is not a story about hopelessness, but one that exposes the financial industry and cautions consumers against excessive debt.