Lisa Schwarzbaum
June 30, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Corporation

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
145 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/04/04
director
Jennifer Abbott, Mark Achbar
distributor
Zeitgeist Films
genre
Documentary
We gave it a B+

The Corporation has better manners and a longer fuse than ”Fahrenheit 9/11.” But the acerbic, sardonically illuminating Canadian documentary shares with its American cousin a certain bleak leftist glee in pursuit of its cause. The thesis of the film, based on Joel Bakan’s book ”The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power,” written by Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, is succinct: Ever since corporations were granted the same legal status as individual persons — with few of the same responsibilities as individual citizens — these Frankensteinian ”alive” entities have gone amorally, greedily, pathologically mad in their pursuit of almighty profit.

The film is longer than a time-efficiency consultant would allow, and it’s tricked out with narrative gimmicks a communications VP would nix. What sticks are the persuasive examples of corporate psychosis driven home by a parade of interviewees, including CEOs, flacks, whistle-blowers, one bigwig in the world of industrial carpets born again as an ecological crusader, and, yes, Michael Moore himself as secular swami of activism. The case studies of corporate amorality are presented with such passion and clarity that the Canadian-grade snark is easily ignored in this damning annual report.

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