“Saving Paradise” is a simplistic attempt to explain the raping of the United States by venture capitalists and offer encouragement that the hedge fund and investment bankers can be defeated by American values and spirit. Fantasy?
Having lived through the insatiable corporate greed of an American bank that proudly celebrated to its analysts thousands of job losses to India, China, Canada, Dublin, Poland and Germany the rape of America is no fiction. Strangely it was at one point off shoring was heralded as risk reduction and encouraged by American regulators. Economic theory and humanism at odds!
So the film “Saving Paradise” is a bit of fantasy retaliation to reality. A pencil factory in Paradise Pennsylvania is facing bankruptcy after the death of its owner. It has a huge debt to a local bank and a very short time to repay. Don Peterson is a bit of a fuddly duddy paternalistic capitalist that actually cares about his workers. Does Jeff Bezos or Richard Branson show any of the same decency or is their flirtation with space and their ego more important.
Don Peterson dies and he is highly leveraged to the tune of $10,000,000 quite a sum for a pencil manufacturer in small-town Paradise Pennsylvania.
Michael is the son of the deceased owner and he works for a ruthless investment banker that buys out struggling American companies, pumps them with cash, cleans up their balance sheet and then sells them off to the highest bidder most often China.
Michael returns home to Paradise to take control of the pencil factory and he manages to rally the employees to his side despite he is seen as a New York pariah. He has the help of his teenage love Charlie who is CFO of the pencil factory.
The film suffers initially from a stiff stereotyping of investment bankers and a pencil factory small town workforce to the point they are comical to one who has worked in the world of finance but to those who have not perhaps it is a necessary act of simplicity.
Then get ready for a battle royale with the man with a ruthless streak becoming humanized by his motley crew of workers and his rekindled romance for Charlie.
Michael has a big skeleton in his closet which sems to have little to do with the plot.
Well the little guy wins this battle and that little guy has usually been wiped out by the greed of venture capitalist and the American consumer who wants the cheap Walmart goods perhaps without realizing how this has hammered domestic manufacturing.
Don Peterson and his caring ways end up saving Peterson Pencil.
This is no great movie but a lesson on the lecherous and ignorant destruction of domestic manufacturing in the United States for those who do not already know the lesson. But is the lesson simply too late?
Although the acting is less than stellar William Moseley as Michael and Johanna Braddy as Charlie keep the film from being a meltdown.
The 102-minute film was directed by Jay Silverman and opened in select theatres on September 3 and on On Demand. You can see the trailer here https://vert-ent.app.box.com/s/82em15an80rcuta0iw5ycvjtxeevnyxu/file/841675175072