In Review: Assault on Wall Street on DVD

by Martyn Conterio on 29/05/2014


Uwe Boll is angry about the financial crisis and he’s got something to say! So y’all better listen up and pay attention. Assault on Wall Street is the classic ‘death of the American Dream’ scenario exploiting populist sentiment that all bankers are immoral fiends (fair enough) and that they should all be massacred where they trade (less fair). In America, Boll tells us, violence solves every dispute and lashing out can make you feel better. The film is essentially a passionate call to murder, to use a phrase once uttered by surrealist Luis Buñuel.

Jim Baxford (Dominic Purcell) is a brick shithouse everyman who loses the lot: his job as a security guard; his life savings (thanks to John Heard’s Wall Street crook); the missus tops herself because she doesn’t want to be a burden and they can no longer pay the astronomical medical bills and, most importantly, Jim loses his self-respect and humble position in society. He loves America, but it sure as shit doesn’t love him. Jim gets angry and buys lots of guns.

Boll saves the mayhem for the third act, so until then we’re treated to a maudlin tragedy that Charles Chaplin might have blanched at as ‘excessively sentimental’. Aesthetically, Boll is clearly ripping off Steven Soderbergh’s style. The film opts for grey and blue tones, lots of hand-held camera, location shooting and snappy editing. Armed with an arsenal of weapons and an almost Stalinist logic – no man, no bonus – he decides to take out the human trash.

As ever with maniacs that set their tempers to ‘kill ’em all’, Jim’s embracing of maverick justice erases any initial sympathy. From here, he is a murdering thug and lunatic who believes he’s showing the bad bankers who is really in charge. In Boll’s eyes, Jim has been transformed into a modern-day avenger with righteousness and morality on his side (despite all that life-taking, uh).

Assault on Wall Street is a wanton slice of nonsense with a cynical extremist agenda that nobody in their right mind would ever take seriously, least of all Boll haters.

Martyn has awarded Assault on Wall Street two Torches of Truth


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