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The Corporation (2003)

  Directed by: Jennifer Abbott, Mark Achbar
Written by: Joel Bakan, Harold Crooks
Starring: Mikela J. Mikael
Links: The Corporation on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book
Genre: Documentary

This movie gets: 3.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Weak" - a review by pearly

With The Corporation, documentary filmmakers Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar gather together interviews with many well-known and lesser-known supposed experts on all manner of topics to do with big business, and jumble it all together to form an examination of the good and bad (dare I say, mostly bad) points about corporations.

The Corporation is full of imagery. It never stops. There's people talking non-stop about this and that, and over it all are images, both clearly related, and seemingly not, just barreling past vying for attention. To begin with, it's all a bit of a whirlwind, and it's quite interesting. However, for me, it fairly quickly became a little much. When you have all this stuff presented in front of you, and you still manage to get bored, there's something very wrong with either the material itself (i.e. it's inherently boring, or possibly just inherently boring to you), or something wrong with the presentation of the material. To me, it was almost like the filmmakers knew that the interviews themselves couldn't hold people's attention, so they tried to add a whole bunch of bells and whistles to help out. But it really didn't help. Not at all.

I don't want to set the feminist movement back ten years, but I just couldn't stand the narration either. Mikela J. Mikael's voice irritated me - I wished she would shut up. I can see why most voiceovers are done by males, I really can. It's just like the conversation I had in the pub the other day: females really do have a much higher proportion of annoying voices.

Furthermore, on reflecting back about this doco just then, I would have made an assumption that it was around 3 hours in length - I was so over the whole thing by the end, that I would have been sure that it had been going on at least that long (I couldn't possibly be that sick of it in a shorter time span, could I?). However, checking out the specs on the delightful IMDb just now, I see that it's actually only 145 minutes, at least half an hour shorter than 3 hours. Way, way, way too long, guys! I can understand that with documentaries, it's easy to gather up too much quality footage, and not know where to stick the ol' editing scissors (as is my understanding of the editing process), but there was a good hour that could have been lopped off this thing, and the end result may even have been good quality.

As part of the running commentary, the film uses a World Health Organization checklist to determine the "Personality Diagnostic" of corporations, concluding that corporations are psychopaths. While a nice idea on the surface, there is one obvious flaw with this delightful little illustration: it bundles all corporations up into one, and then diagnoses that entity, rather than looking at one specific corporation. It's like saying that humankind is a psychopath, rather than stating simply that mino is one. I understand that nothing altogether too serious was meant by this comparison, but it does seem kinda silly to me.

I enjoyed the first half an hour or so of The Corporation. It had the potential to be a really great documentary - something worthy of sharing the stage with the other top documentaries on display at MIFF 2004 - but for all its big budget, well-known names, and so on, it fell very flat in the humble opinion of this little black duck. The final nail in the coffin was the fact that the film closed with a portion of an interview with Michael Moore. Moore has had his chance (and he's more than taken advantage of it) to speak up on these sorts of topics, and to use this over-exposed voice as the closer of the film, especially when there were so many interviews with other intelligent people whose faces most documentary / news enthusiasts are not already sick of the sight of, came across as very weak, and not the strong ending which you would hope for with a film of this sort. Disappointing.

pearly gives this movie 3 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 23 Aug 2004

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Reader comments

  1. Call me a 'psychopath', will you? I'll kill you! I'll kill you for saying that!

    A comment from nofreelist's own mino on Mon 23 Aug 2004 12:18 #


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