Film Review by Kam Williams
Fact-Based Cautionary Tale Revisits Sub-Prime Mortgage Crisis
It is California in 2007, at the height of the sub-prime mortgage boom. Jason “Jay” Kelley (Beau Martin Williams), a cash-strapped bouncer is offered an alternative line of work in a higher tax bracket by Devin Weiss (Matt Funke), a hotshot real estate broker whose company is in the midst of a hiring blitz.
For, the Feds have recently deregulated ARMs (Adjustable Rate Mortgages), making the liars loans available to any member of the general public able to meet the minimum down payment requirement of a mere 1%. That development has triggered a feeding frenzy which left lenders like Devin with too few employees to process notes fast enough.
Unfortunately, Jay proves unable to resist the easy money being dangled right in front of his eyes like a carrot on a stick. Worse, once greed has gotten the better of him, he succumbs to the suggestion that it’s okay to behave unscrupulously in the name of the almighty dollar. So, he soon finds himself being trained to trick naïve borrowers into signing on the dotted line to finance homes way beyond their means.
Jay’s ethical tailspin begins with his fast-talking an unemployed pal (Trai Byers) with a wife and kids into buying a house he’s destined to default on. Jay subsequently loses his moral bearings afterhours, too, by attending wild parties with his colleagues where snorting coke off women’s bare midriffs is par for the course. Worst of all, when he sobers up and decides he wants out, he’s blackmailed by a manipulative boss (Sam McMurray) who’s been secretly recording his hedonistic behavior.
Unfolding like the West Coast’s answer to the decadence displayed in The Wolf of Wall Street, Americons is a sobering cautionary tale exposing the ugly underbelly of the California mortgage industry. Directed by Theo Avgerinos (Fifty Pills), the semi-autobiographical adventure was co-written by its co-stars, Beau Martin Williams and Matt Funke.
A modern morality play serving as a telling reminder of exactly how easily an American Dream can dissolve into a neverending dystopian nightmare.
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity, nudity, sexuality and drug use.
Running time: 85 minutes
Distributor: Archstone Distribution