As an elite class rules with unparalleled power and unchecked corruption, and a general population sits narcotized by a widespread sense of apathy, America seems doomed to fall as many other empires have done throughout history. So say the filmmakers behind the award-winning feature-length documentary Four Horsemen. This compelling film provides a thorough diagnosis of the country’s massive societal and organizational ills, and offers several thoughtful remedies along the way.
Are we really experiencing the death gasps of the American dream? As a means of comparison, the filmmakers set forth the blueprint of Ancient Rome’s demise. This tumultuous period was characterized by a growing disparity between the rich and the poor, unabated abuses of power, a debasement of currency, and a desire among the masses to be controlled. Sound familiar? While some of these comparisons presented in the film are downright ridiculous – are celebrity chefs really a sign of America’s oncoming apocalypse? – much of the analogy rings true and resonant.
This is not a religious documentary, but the disaster it outlines is almost biblical in its scope. The four horsemen of the title refers to US-led financial wrongdoings, escalating violence, deplorable conditions of poverty, and looming environmental catastrophe. The film contends that the driving force behind this doomsday plot is the new morality in America: money. The country has gone far afield from a true free market system where wealth is shared and benefits all. Capitalism may be on the brink of extinction. Today, in the midst of massive deregulation and corporate greed, the country’s financial institutions are operating only in their own self-interests. Politicians are owned by corporations, and the wars they wage are merely vehicles to drive profits.
In the film’s estimation, the real threat lies with an American public that generally accepts the misinformation they’re fed without question or protest. Millions have lost their homes and life savings, and their children are being killed in unnecessary wars. Are the American people fearful of taking a stand, or simply not understanding of the complexities at play? Whatever the reason, Four Horsemen hopes to educate this audience, rally their collective outcry, and inspire a movement for change.
Directed by: Ross Ashcroft