Rollover

Tagged: Film

Film (1981). IPC Films/Orion. Directed by Alan J Pakula. Written by David Shaber, from a story by Shaber, Howard Kohn, David Weir. Cast includes Hume Cronyn, Jane Fonda and Kris Kristofferson. 115 minutes. Colour.

Rollover has a banker (Kristofferson) and an oil-company chairman (Fonda) uncovering a conspiracy in which the Saudi Arabians have, with the help of US banks, been secretly dumping dollars and buying gold. Threatened with exposure, the Saudis withdraw all funds from the banks and a world financial collapse ensues, with apocalyptic consequences. Rollover is an ironic, diagrammatic thriller in which US individualists – innocent, greedy and emblematic – are helpless against a powerful establishment (much as in Pakula's best film, The Parallax View [1974], which has a marginally sf brain-washing theme). Cold, difficult, sophisticated, anti-capitalist, Rollover was a commercial flop; it would have done better eight years later. The doomsday scenarios of sf, unlike those of the real world, seldom feature Economics as the catalyst – probably because most people find money-manipulation too complex a topic – but Rollover, rather like the financial thrillers of Paul E Erdman, is a notable exception. [PN]

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