Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream (2012)
Directed by Alex Gibney
If becoming more politically aware is your New Year’s resolution, watching Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream wouldn’t be a bad start.
The film opened by highlighting how the opposite ends of Park Avenue–the Upper East Side and the Bronx–could not be more different. One side was home to the city’s wealthiest, while the city’s poor resided on the other. Fun fact: 740 Park Avenue is the building with the most billionaires.
Despite the fact I had to pause the movie and take a nap, Park Avenue painted a dim picture of what the American Dream looks like. Venture capitalists and big business giants, the big winners, are portrayed as unfeeling and unsympathetic, because they lose sight of the blue collar American experience. Some of the demonized “one-percent” figures include David Koch, CEO of Koch Enterprises; Stephen Schawrzman, CEO of Blackstone Group, and Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
I should have gotten the hint reading the title, but I was expecting this documentary to be more along the lines of a E! Entertainment special–I was not looking to watch a politically charged documentary about Wall Street executives and CEOs buying their influence in politics. Nevertheless, it was a great find flipping through HuluPlus and I am happy to get a better understanding of what’s really going on in today’s political arena.