Susan E. Linn
Jennifer Abbott & Marc Achbar
Running Time: 145 minutes
US Certificate: Unrated UK Certificate: PG
You get the impression The Corporation may well be the brainchild of that particular brand of student. You know the kind they moan endlessly on about how capitalism is the scourge of the planet and we should all detest the big faceless multinationals. And okay, so we all tend to ignore these types and perhaps even throw stuff at them for having rubbish hair. But, youve got to hand it to them they might just be right.
Presenting us with an almost unstomacheable volume of anecdotes, statistics and plain old black-and-white evidence, The Corporation must surely be the most damning (and convincing) thesis on the dangers of globalisation ever put to film. No big industrial name is spared as it dissects the behaviour of these faceless global corps, strategically putting its argument together and comparing big business to an individual person a person who, it concludes, is a complete arse.
Shovelled into its mammoth 145-minute running time, were told tales of Nikes sweat-shop dynasty, Coca-Colas fiendish scheme to quench the Nazis thirst with Fanta, and an intriguing stand-off between two Fox reporters who refused to lie on air even if it meant cheesing off the advertisers and losing their jobs. These, folks, are the days of the giant, all-powerful mega-corp, and unless we do something about it soon, were all going to be crushed into the ground like ants under a hippo. At least, thats what I got from it.
Of course, you need to be in a pretty patient mood to sit through The Corporation. Its not that I doubt either the truthfulness or the importance of its message, but it has to be said that much of it is like watching an endlessly extended directors cut of one of those old videos they used to stick on in geography class when the teacher was off sick. Its more than a little preachy, its guilty from time-to-time of talking down to its audience and, whats more, its not long before it falls into the trap of labouring its point.
Had it been a little choosier in deciding what parts should have made the final cut (the tenuous shark and aeroplane analogies could go, for a kick-off), the end product could have been far tidier without losing any of its impact. But if like I did you find yourself thinking twice about buying those Nike trainers or that can of Coke after leaving the theatre, then this can only be described as a film that does its job.
It's Got: Michael Moore sticking his neb in. Is it possible to make a documentary these days without that guy finding out and plonking himself in front of the camera?
It Needs: A nice, cold glass of Fanta if youre a Nazi swine, that is!!
Alternatives:Fahrenheit 9/11, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media
One minute youre watching a film like this, the next youre wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt and refusing to wash. Still, if you can make it through two-and-a-half hours of being spoken to like youre a bit thick, theres some fascinating information in this one.