Author and filmmaker James D. Scurlock takes on the powerful financial industry in an insightful and infuriating documentary about credit card debt in America. As he crisscrosses the United States, Scurlock interviews average Americans whose lives have been ruined by predatory financial lenders. His subjects are from all walks of life--everyone from retired widows in the Midwest, to poverty-stricken Southerners, to two college students who commit suicide due to their insurmountable bills. Scurlock exposes the extortionate rates of the credit card companies, and reveals their practice of preying upon the very people who are least likely to be able to pay their debts. His interviews with a Harvard law professor, debt collectors, and self-help "financial gurus" further expose the shocking corruption within the financial system and the toxic ties between the corporations and the United States government.
The subject matter is gripping enough, but Scurlock ups the entertainment value with a pop-music soundtrack and by splicing in archival footage from educational films. MAXED OUT carries an urgent message for the future of America. Scurlock's battle cry is: grab the scissors and destroy your plastic--before it destroys you.
Theatrical Release: March 9, 2007
"[The film] presents a more-accurate-than-not vision of a nation that is starting to look like a candidate for rehab, on both an individual and a national level, for its addiction to debt." -- Grade: B - 03/23/2007 Entertainment Weekly, p.45
"[A]n eye-opening and disturbing excursion into that American minefield of credit and debt..." - 04/01/2007 Box Office, p.128