Cast: Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Vandana Shiva, Jane Akre
Director: Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott
Writer: Joel Bakan, Harold Crooks
Rated: PG adult themes, low level coarse language
Running Time: 145 Minutes
** Winner Audience Award World Cinema - Documentary SUNDANCE Film Festival **
Based on Joel Balkan's book 'The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit Of Profit And Power', the film is a timely, critical inquiry that invites CEO's, whistle blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, players, pawns and pundits on a graphic and engaging quest to reveal the corporation's inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures. Featuring illumination interviews with Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Naomi Klein, Howard Zinn and many others.
'The Corporation' is a very long Canadian produced documentary on the impact of corporations in our society. It starts with a history and definition and continues with each subject given its own heading and chapter. The explanations given are all very clear and concise, with points raised being illustrated by animation, archival footage and montages. There are numerous interview with CEO's, spies, consumers etc, which are usually studio setting style, face to camera. These are interspersed throughout the film, and provide interesting food for thought.
Essentially this is a movie about the strength and power of corporations, especially when compared to governments. Many examples are given to illustrate this point - eg. The privatisation of water in Bolivia by a Californian company, which included the banning of collecting even rainwater by the inhabitants. This lead to riots by the people to whom the government reacted by maintaining a strong police riot squad and eventually this 'mini-war' killed residents and injured many others. It was eventually resolved with a national vote with the people winning. The point here was the impact of a corporation, which wasn't even native to the country and its ability to divide the country. There are many, many more examples of corporations and their so-called authority to make their own rules, self-validated by their ownership, but then again it may be seen by some as just a case of corporate bashing. What it doesn't show is the other side where government ownership rules.
The main drawback with 'The Corporation' is the length. It is way too long, so that much of the impact of the astounding evidence is lost, and it almost becomes a preaching festival. Unlike recent documentaries including 'Fahrenheit 9/11' and 'Super Size Me', it also doesn't have the same sense of humour that either of these have which also contributes to its occasional monotony. However, it is still compelling viewing, with much of the material being revealing and surprising and it may change the way you think about corporations in the future. As Michael Moore says near the conclusion, it is one thing to sit in the cinema and watch a movie and then leave, but it is also another to leave and then go and do something positive and constructive about what you have just seen. Maybe this is a movie that may motivate some.
Rating : B+