“The Corporation” does something very few docs do: goes directly for the jugular of the world’s true power institutions, i.e., the corporations, and insistently runs this phenomenon through a merciless examination from a historical, legal and critical angle, even subjecting it to psychoanalysis (concluding that it has the personality of a psychopath!).

Ulla Jacobsen
Jacobsen was previously editor in chief of the DOX Magazine from March 1998 until early 2009. A lot of the DOX articles republished in ModernTimes was ordered by her. After 2009 she worked freelance, until she died in 2013.

Sharing the same mission as Michael Moore’s films and TV shows, The Corporation is also absolutely humorous. Yet whereas Michael Moore is extremely provoking and confrontational and puts himself on screen as an active participant, The Corporation employs a different strategy: investigative journalism, presenting a montage that bombards the viewer with information, interviews, views, and case stories. Interwoven at a high pace with varied imagery of archive clips (fiction and doc alike), graphic elements, new shots and a music score designed to amplify the contents of the scenes.

As a kindred spirit, Michael Moore is among the 42 interview subjects which also include thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein, CEOs and VPs of big corporations, academics, historians and activists. They are filmed facing the camera against a black background as they make their confessions. Even if some of the interviewees actually expose their lack of any moral concern, The Corporation isn’t trying to bring down individuals, but the whole power structure that allows utterly undemocratic institutions to assume such a dominant position.

Although 42 talking heads may sound like a lot – they are, too – The Corporation is never boring. It is demanding to watch, but you want to watch more, as it is also engaging and entertaining. It is filled with information, viewpoints and thoughts about our global community and future scenarios that leave you thoroughly exhausted, but also deeply inspired.

On top of all the facts and clever observations, the filmmakers have unearthed some rather shocking case studies, which actually exemplify and prove that what you only strongly suspected actually happens: e.g., the suppression of controversial news stories, the fact that the TV networks are totally under the thumb of the advertising sponsors (in the US – a country that prides itself on its freedom of speech), and that fact that our wealth is partly based on cheap child labour in developing countries.

These stories provoke indignation, but unlike many other docs that are purely sentimental, the strength of The Corporation is that it also speaks to the intellect. It has an impressive capability to elaborately detail complex theses, presenting them in an easily understandable form and depicting the possible future consequences of current human behaviour. A big, difficult task that is effectively performed in this unparalleled film.


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