my three biggest socio-political issues right now are: education (because i feel 99% of our problems can be solved with the right education), corporate dominance, and (an offshoot of the second item) media dereliction of duty. this film tackles the second issue with a deft clarity and focus that quite simply had me amazed from the first reel. let me cut to the chase here for those too lazy to read on: THIS is the film of the year, and possibly the best documentary (with the exception of american movie) to come out in the last five to ten. if there’s any film that you roll out of bed to watch this year, please let this be the one.
most people who have an interest in progressive causes will be somewhat familiar with the outline of the film – corporate personhood has essentially led to corporations having an insane amount of control over what we see, eat, drink, breathe and consume in general. corporations have become part of our consciousness at an unshakable and unwashable level. they are ubiquitous, single-minded (profit), subversive parasites that erode our society from within. with this in mind you’d think the film was a marxist commercial out to bring capitalism to its knees. you’d be wrong. the film is remarkably even-handed in its approach. governmental as well as market fixes are proposed by different interviewees. i’m very much into the work of noam chomsky and michael moore (both are interviewed), i’ve read fast food nation, i’m a big fan of adbusters, i own naomi klein’s “no logo” and korten’s “when corporations rule the world” so a lot of this stuff wasn’t all that new to me, but some of it was and the film is a perfect amalgamation of all this information. archive footage is used extremely well, like a hip-hop artist melding together samples in ways that create an entirely different tapestry of sound. interviews, archival footage, and good old investigative journalism are used to present a solid case about the role corporations have in our global society; as well as how we’ve gotten to this point and where we may be going.
despite the heavy nature and brutal pacing of much of the film, there are a few moments of ironic comedy. i do think the film would have done well with a few momentary pauses early in the film to allow things to soak in. in feature films a director might cut to an exterior for a beat or two to allow a bit of a cushion from one scene to the next, something similar may have aided the pacing of this film. it’s actually remarkable that i wished it had taken a little more time considering its 2 hour and 25 minute runtime. i think it’s testament to the film’s strength. i also want to note that the long runtime and heavy nature of the film never came off as dry or overly-academic. in other words, it’s not a boring film to watch – quite the contrary, it’s a rather engaging and almost fun film to watch. i say “fun” reluctantly because learning about the ways in which a corporation is bilking america and the world out of our natural resources and hard-earned money isn’t fun, but if you’re interested in learning then it is an exciting film. a quick side note – the narrator had a perfect voice for the material and she reminded me a lot of the narrator in the “second renaissance” portions of the animatrix. generally i don’t give films i’ve only seen once anything better than a B+, but this film blew me away from start to finish on so many different levels…Watched in theater