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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.76%
Average: 7.48%
Pretty Bad: 0.93%
Total Crap: 4.67%

7 reviews, 65 user ratings

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Corporation, The (2004)
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by Jason Whyte

"'A freakin' wake up call to a world that desperately needs one.'"
5 stars

You know, I feel bad about doing certain things sometimes. I know there's a lot of good in this world, but I know there is a lot of bad in this world as well. I work for a small corporation that I'm sure has its faults if I took the time to look closer into it. I go to my film screenings at theaters that are run by big people in offices in Toronto, who overcharge for butter on the large popcorn. I buy my DVD's from a store that's owned by a group of people whose sole idea is to make money. And when I'm hungry with only a few bucks to spare, I sometimes go to a food place, be it a McDonalds, Subway or Edo's, that is owned by someone, or someone(s), higher up. And I know these are big companies with corruption within.

But so what? I make my choices because I want to make them. I simply go to work and make my money, cheerfully ignorant that I could be making more for the amount of work that I do, that a few pockets are getting filled a bit larger because of me. I go to a movie because I want to see that movie, not because a big suit told me to go to that particular film, and that particular theater. I hardly ever visit the concession stand, and the ones I do are normally at the University, which are non-profit, or the theaters that are independent. (I DO know people, however, that feel they must buy cinema food because it isn't a movie experience without it. The corporations know this.) I buy a DVD because I like the film and wish to watch it again, not because an advertisement told me to. And I eat at a place like McDonalds, Subway or Edo's because I'm hungry and the food is good, not because the commercials told me to. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I make decisions to keep me happy, and I try to stay away from letting bigger names suck me into buying and consuming things that I don't need. If an alternate option comes along, like a dollar store pizza or University theater, I take it if the product I want is there.

Films like "The Corporation" speak to us, the person, the action-taker, the consumer, about the choices that we make and why we make them. It is not political side-taking. This film is about a lot more than that, and how it speaks to the viewer is entirely about what ethics and morals he or she chooses to follow. I think it's overall meaning can be appreciated on a universal scale, and can certainly arouse and inspire change even if one thinks they are already doing enough. And this is not a overlong, talking head docu. Combining heavily researched stories, interviews with 40+ participants from scholars to filmmakers, and some vintage clips that have more meaning when placed within today's contexts, directors Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, with writing by Joel Bakan, give us a look into a society that absolutely needs to get its act together before a few decisions made by rich white guys in suits affect this entire world...and then the ice caps melt.

For 145 minutes (trimmed down from the 168-minute festival version to make the experience a bit tighter), I was blown away by the sheer amount of detail there was here. The film begins on the dawn of the corporations, which started in the 18th century at, of course, the industrial revolution, where the simple image of a pumping water machine at a coal plant speaks volumes about how you can easily send a machine to do a man's job. The story progresses onward to how corporations were involved with major human events throughout the last 200 years, questioning corporation involvements in wars, terrorism and the media.

One of the most brilliant sequences in the film involves a company that invented a chemical that was injected into cows to produce milk faster and cheaper. The chemical might make Uber-milk right away, but it also has side effects of gunking up the digestive systems of the cows; pus and blood therefore makes it into the milk (the same comment was also made in the recent festival film "Go Further" which was about promoting eating organically)...and this is approved by the Food and Drug Administration without human testing (this chemical is outlawed in Canada and the UK because they damn well know it can cause the cancers...whoops, I meant to say "human health issues".) A reporter finds proof of this amazing turn of events and is ready to publish the events, but is quickly shunned by his company, Fox News, for fear that it would disrupt their advertising dollars, even though the CEO of that network owns 21 other networks already. And never mind that milk is so overproduced in the US that the government is even paying farmers to NOT produce it. But it's okay to keep producing the infected, hormoned milk as long as the supplier is well paid. Who cares about those hard-working journalists?

Scene after scene opens up our curiosity and attention to a world that needs to wake itself up. We've heard so many theories and arguments about the events of 9/11 that I'm almost ready to say "Enough already!", but never have I heard such a strike of irony that Carlton Brow, commodities trader, tells us about stock traders whose investment in Gold suddenly skyrocketed because those jets crashed into the building. Or how about a scientific study that PROVES that advertisers of children's products tell the kids that it's okay to nag their parents to buy them the toy! Or how about a sequence where a group of activists, fed up with Shell Corp., find where one of the big wigs lives and try to taunt him out of his house, only to have him not surrender but sit down and discuss the problem. And when Kathie Lee Gifford's clothing line is exposed with employing workers in the East with almost no pay, she quickly apologizes and becomes concerned, but today there are still sweatshops that provide cheap product for American companies (in a twist of irony, a closeup on a tag on one of her garments mentions a portion of the sale of this item will be donated to charity. Do I smell a tax dodge?) This could have been boring, head-bobbing psychobabble, but Achbar and Abbott maintain the momentum fresh, keep us involved, and even throw in a burst of humour...such as the quick scene that shows us that all two teenagers had to do to get college tuition was to don corporate shirts and go onto shows wearing them; the corporations had no problem with the kids doing this and funding their school, and why not? It made them money after all.

To call "The Corporation"one of the most important films of 2004 is too slight a praise. This film could be instrumental in causing major change in our society. It must be marketed and distributed well; I hope this has the same effect as Michael Moore's film "Bowling For Columbine", although I admired this one a bit more. Of course, Moore's film is more about gun control and the decisions people make involving this issue, and it only hints at the corporate hidings that are more fully explored here. This film seriously challenges the viewer to confront how he or she acts in society today, taking notice of the actions we make in our daily life. It is an experience that left me shaking and forced me to go outside for a walk to let all of the detail sink over me. Please see this film by whatever means possible. [And please visit for more information on this film.]

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originally posted: 02/13/04 21:50:08
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sydney Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sydney Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.
This film is listed in our political documentary series. For more in the Political Documentary series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Minneapolis/St.Paul Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

11/24/07 Ida Ansharyani It teach me how to see myself, and the reality of life in my country into a wider scheme 5 stars
8/01/07 fools♫gold So pretty it leaves me with these ineloquent sentences. Can't give it a high enough score. 5 stars
6/20/07 johnnyfog smartest guys in the room 4 stars
6/16/07 dnnxkz The professionals of Full Tilt Poker include the best and most famous poker players in the 1 stars
5/31/06 Kevin Very informative. Definitely intended for the "average" audience, though 5 stars
5/24/06 sean g GREAT! SHOULD BE required viewing for business ethics 101 courses 5 stars
5/08/06 Simon Very engaging, worthy of praise, but please do not enslave yourself to its activism... 5 stars
2/16/06 carole fuenzalida a real eye opener!! some of it i was already aware of..great movie 5 stars
1/05/06 Andrew Coomber Absolutely Thriving. The horror of globalization lies in here. 5 stars
10/26/05 Scott Extreme Left bashing of the freedom we fight for. 1 stars
6/04/05 Mike Jozic A little 'simple' in its execution but an otherwise well done doc. 3 stars
4/24/05 shirley kelley a life changing experience! 5 stars
11/06/04 Katie Heath Quite a few people got up and left when I was there but I was rivetted! 5 stars
10/28/04 David Delucchi extraordinary film 5 stars
9/28/04 Elendil ..but simplistic. Read Powers' Gain by if u want entertainment + history of corporations. 4 stars
9/27/04 Helen Bradley Brilliant. Fast paced documentary well researched 5 stars
9/20/04 David Löfgren I've been dreaming for so long... It's time to wake up! 5 stars
9/14/04 Johnna Laurel great concept,and also casting 5 stars
9/10/04 joe smith true,accurate countervailing statement 5 stars
9/07/04 Gene Beed Shallow, sophomoric, manipulative. Should appeal to most neoilbs. 1 stars
9/04/04 BC I feel I need to look more closely at my life and institute changes wherever possible 5 stars
9/03/04 sunny Great film, makes you think and want to make things better 5 stars
8/28/04 capitalbliss Great movie but now that we know, what next? I think we need a sequel Micheal. 5 stars
8/21/04 Mark Ridiculous anti-capitalist tirade obviously popular with brainwashed lefties 2 stars
8/01/04 Nikolai Corporations will buy the Vatican and gain a soul. War creates jobs and democracy. 5 stars
7/18/04 Cassandra Farrar makes you think! 4 stars
7/18/04 Michael Kwiatkowski I have not yet seen this film, but I want to. In fact, I most likely will. 4 stars
6/16/04 Thomas Hickey Great! A must see film for everyone! 5 stars
6/08/04 Anthony Pereira One of the most important movies I have seen in 37 yeares on our planet, or is it theirs. 5 stars
5/21/04 Rich Pretty damn important. 5 stars
5/16/04 Jean lacks objectivity and focus, still very interresting and enjoyable 4 stars
5/05/04 thejames go see it fucker! 5 stars
5/04/04 beatrice quite freaky....facing reality ...really good documentary..those docs are needed 5 stars
4/23/04 Ed Maher Required viewing for all Americans. 5 stars
4/14/04 Cameron Slick Totally awesome! 5 stars
4/13/04 Rob Bond Very thorough and informative! A film's GOT to be interesting to 4me2 want more after 3hrs! 5 stars
4/11/04 Tim Powerful, Incisive, Important documentary, Works VERY well as a commercial-release movie! 5 stars
4/08/04 filmguy fantastic! clear-headed, well-researched and tremendously engaging. Not to be missed. 5 stars
4/06/04 Jessie I had to watch The Corporation as a class assignment. It was a great film, makes you think 5 stars
4/04/04 The Kind Anarchy Organization founder people in the theatre were laughing...i was crying 5 stars
4/04/04 G Spafford Best movie I've seen in a long time. 5 stars
4/03/04 Hilarium It'll be in the US in June. Can't wait to see it again. 5 stars
4/02/04 Ken Shepard Take your family and friends 5 stars
2/26/04 Nicholas Engelking Looks good, hot topic, good facts, bad process, see it anyway. 3 stars
2/24/04 KC Grant Will it play in the US 5 stars
2/17/04 rgpratt Must-see 5 stars
2/15/04 ben backward logic, retarded 1 stars
2/08/04 Ten EVERYONE needs to see this movie 5 stars
2/07/04 Jason Andrew A must see! 5 stars
2/04/04 Larry McDonald Very interesting! 4 stars
2/03/04 Rosie R Riveting, shocking, HUGE wake-up call 5 stars
2/03/04 Isabelle This movie should be seen by all high school students & parents all over the world. 5 stars
1/29/04 Graham Doll enlightening 5 stars
1/29/04 sophie Brilliant!!!!!! 5 stars
1/29/04 theo the usual cast of (left) wing nuts 1 stars
1/25/04 sunil kumar see review 5 stars
1/24/04 mel amazing and eye opening. 5 stars
1/24/04 Immaculate If you have a place on this planet right now wake up and do some change 5 stars
1/22/04 Zamir A clairvoyant look at our corporate society 5 stars
1/21/04 Rosco Act on this!!! 5 stars
1/20/04 Tim Unbelievable - changed my life! 5 stars
1/20/04 L. Lapage Eye-Opener 4 stars
1/18/04 Nick I can't help but look at everything in a diffrent way 5 stars
12/03/03 Rita FANTASTIC 5 stars
10/20/03 Josiane Absolutly fantastic MUST see 5 stars
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  04-Jun-2004 (NR)
  DVD: 05-Apr-2005


  02-Sep-2004 (PG)

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