Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Directed by: Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott.
Produced by: Mark Achbar & Bart Simpson.
Based on the book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power by Joel Bakan
Director of Photography: Mark Achbar, et al.
Edited by: Jennifer Abbott.
Music by: Leonard J. Paul.
Released by: Zeitgeist Films.
Country of Origin: Canada. 145 min. Not Rated.

Since the 1800s, the corporation has been seen in the eyes of the government as a legal "person." Using case studies, confessional interviews, and PowerPoint-like graphics, the film attacks the capitalistic institution for its amoral and deceitful "personality," pointing to its activities of self-interest that harm the environment, human health, and quality of life.

Among its interview subjects are top-level CEOs and executives, business professors, activists, critics, a corporate spy, and even filmmaker Michael Moore. An engaging barrage of colorful rhetoric from various interviewees is exchanged, defending both sides of the corporate equation, but there is little doubt as to which side the film takes.

One of the more fascinating episodes involves two investigative reporters who were fired from Fox News after refusing to water down a story on a synthetic hormone used to increase milk production. The hormone, which caused an udder infection in cows that would essentially be harmful to milk drinkers, was produced by one of the network's paid advertisers, and despite the reporters' whistle-blowing attempts, Fox won the case on a technicality (basically, that it is not against the law to put false, distorted news stories on the air).

A well-executed and comprehensive documentary, the film would certainly be a useful and informative educational tool for future and current corporate leaders, who appear to be its target audience. Like the image of a cow with a grossly swollen udder, Moore's comments about corporate greed - brazen in manner yet significant in their meaning - resonate long after the closing credits. But the film does little to address the duties or obligations of the average consumer, so despite its morally compelling stance, viewers won't stop driving their Fords or drinking their Cokes. Watching The Corporation is like catching a highly engaging and informative Discovery Channel special on TV - you find yourself agreeing with its message, but when your fingers eventually reach for the remote control, the film's message is forgotten with the click of a button. Kim Reyes, contributing editor
June 21, 2004



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