Vivid, polemic documentary about the unchecked greed of modern capitalism
DIRECTED BY Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott
STARRING Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Jane Akre, Naomi Klein Opens October 29, Cert PG, 144 mins
With the political left helpless, with US news media quiescent, the burden of protest against George Bush and his cronies has fallen to docu-cinema, an unlikely genre spawned by the success of Michael Moore. The Corporation is co-made by Mark Achbar, who has form in this field?he made Manufacturing Consent, a fast-cut, arresting depiction of the political thinking of Noam Chomsky. He employs the same techniques here?splicing recent footage, such as a montage of TV spokespeople using the spurious phrase “bad apples” to explain away corruption in the corporate cart, or archive footage of old movies to illustrate points. It’s very postmodern, very hip hop, this ingenious visual sampling, but there’s no play here?this is deadly vital. The film explains how in an inspired act of callous legal opportunism 150 years ago, US businesses appended themselves to a new law designed to protect the personal rights of emancipated blacks by arguing that they, too, should be treated like “persons”. Thereafter, corporations grew into the most dominant and rapacious institutions of the modern age.
The film-makers methodically demonstrate, by individual examples of corporate misbehaviour what kind of “person” the corporation is?a psychopath. Individuals from within corporations express misgivings and, as Noam Chomsky observes, these people might be the nicest guys in the world?but no matter, because the corporation is a monster.
Length-wise, this movie might have benefited from some judicious editing. Still, whether it’s one Michael Walker, unblinkingly arguing for the privatisation of every last inch of the globe, or the saga of Fox News gagging their own investigative team from running a story on a dangerously infectious synthetic hormone manufactured by megacorp Monsato, this film will make your blood boil. Essential.