"The Forecaster," a documentary study of the rise and fall of commodities advisor Martin Armstrong, would have paid greater dividends by taking a more impartial approach to its subject.
As the former chairman of New Jersey-based Princeton Economics, Armstrong demonstrated an uncanny knack for predicting such economic catastrophes as the 1987 stock market crash and Russia's 1998 financial collapse. His prognostications captured the attention of the world's market manipulators and, more fatefully, the FBI, which accused him of orchestrating a $3-billion Ponzi scheme. Found in civil contempt for failing to turn over assets, he spent most of the previous decade in prison.
Directed by Marcus Vetter and Karin Steinberger, the film seems intended primarily as a name-clearing platform for Armstrong to relate his version of the events. The repeated implication is that the government was really after his computer model source code.
Although the globe-trotting production sheds light on the confluence of international finance and geopolitics, focusing on commentary exclusively from Armstrong's camp robs the documentary of a richer perspective. Having pursued numismatics (the study or collection of currency) as a hobby in childhood, Armstrong would be the first to concur that there are two sides to every coin.
MPAA rating: None.
Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes.
Playing: Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena.