Watch Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
- 1 hr 28 min
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a documentary film that portrays the fight of a family-owned bank against the US justice system. The story revolves around the Sung family, the founders of the Abacus Federal Savings Bank. The film is directed by Steve James and was released in 2016. Abacus Federal Savings Bank was a small institution located in Chinatown, New York. The bank catered to the Chinese-American community and had been serving them for more than 30 years. The founders of the bank, Thomas and Hwei Lin Sung, had built a reputation for honesty and transparency. However, in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the bank was accused of mortgage fraud.
The film takes us through the legal proceedings that ensued after the accusation. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., alleged that the bank had knowingly approved fraudulent mortgage loans that had been sold to Fannie Mae. The prosecution argued that the Sung family had turned a blind eye to the fraud that had been committed by some of their employees. The prosecution's challenge was to prove that the Sung family had knowledge of the fraud.
The documentary blends courtroom drama with personal anecdotes to depict the Sung family's uphill battle against the US justice system. The Sungs believed that their bank had not committed any fraud, and they were ready to defend their reputation in court. The family hired a team of lawyers who helped them build a defense case. The legal team argued that the fraud was committed by a few rogue employees who did not represent the bank's values.
The documentary showcases the challenges that the Sung family faced while fighting the case. The family had to deal with the reputation damage that the case brought upon them. They also had to secure funding to fight a legal battle against the government. The documentary also highlights the cultural barriers that the family and their legal team faced due to their Chinese heritage.
The film does not shy away from showcasing the flaws in the US justice system. The documentary analyses the prosecution's motives for going after a small, family-owned bank. The film also raises questions about the fairness of the justice system, especially for individuals who lack the resources to fight long legal battles.
The documentary features interviews with the Sung family, their legal team, and those involved in the case. The interviews provide insights into the motivations and emotions of those involved. The documentary also includes newsreels and archival footage to provide context to the events that unfolded.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a gripping documentary that combines finance, law, and personal stories to tell a compelling tale. The film also highlights the importance of community banks in serving minority communities. The documentary has won several awards, including the Critics' Choice Documentary Award for Best Political Documentary and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature.
In conclusion, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a must-watch for those interested in the intersection of finance and law. The documentary provides a unique perspective on a legal battle fought by a family-owned bank against the US justice system. The film is an excellent example of how documentaries can be used to shed light on important issues and inspire change.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail is a 2016 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 28 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 73.