Daniel Edelstyn and Hilary Powell’s modest yet quietly compelling documentary/project about the secondary debt selling/purchasing industry is both a low-key exposé of a morally redundant market, and a rousing account of how the filmmakers subvert it.
Bank Job opens with a dramatization of Daniel Edelstyn attempting to raise funds for a new film project; a scene that serves as a lightbulb moment for the director as he goes on to investigate the secondary debt industry with his partner Hilary Powell.
As a result of early findings, the couple decide to create their own currency to sell as cash sized art prints, so they can raise funds to purchase £1 million of high interest debt and abolish it. While doing so, Powell and Edelstyn uncover massive debt value market hypocrisy and a hole in the hollow heart of capitalism.
The couple interview key industry/political figures from food bank founders to soup kitchen staff and people struggling to make ends meet in modern London. All contribute to an overview of and insight into the debt market industry, the political landscape surrounding it and how it effects their local community. The film also features talks with Walthamstow locals tackling frontline austerity; inspiring individuals, some of whose faces front Daniel and Hilary’s notes.
Bank Job exposes debt as a ghost commodity circulating in a market based on a currency created by organisations: a currency that doesn’t exist before the loan is taken out. It’s far from the type of hard-nosed investigation one would expect to grant the subject true justice, but what it lacks in finesse, linearity and analytical probing, Bank Job makes up for in boundless heart, soul and character beaming from those striving to help out in the community, including the film-makers.
Powell and Edelstyn’s film serves a sincere yet rugged grass roots study with a “moral imperative” in its final message about the power of collective action. This, the film-makers hope, will go on to generate a greater campaign for a national personal debt write off that is crucial for our current climate.
Bank Job is released in limited cinemas on 28th May and available to stream on Curzon