The Corporation

Poster for The Corporation

Spring 2004 Edge series

Sunday, April 25, 2004 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated NR · 2h 45m

Runner-up for the Audience Choice award at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival, The Corporation takes aim at the brand bullies by giving the institution a human face. The starting point is the United States Supreme Court’s decision to give “the corporation” the same rights as an individual. In a brilliant conceit that takes the corporation’s legal status as a “person” to task, the film set out to determine just what sort of person the corporation is. In this shocking documentary, Mark Achbar, co-director of the seminal Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, teams up with Jennifer Abbott and writer Joel Bakan to get a little more chummy with the era’s most influential Big Brother. The diagnosis? The institutional embodiment of free market capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of … a psychopath! While politicians, activists and pepper spray-wielding RCMP officers duke out the case of globalization in the streets, the film goes after the companies responsible the same way you go after your friendly neighborhood bully. Considering the work and values of the flesh and blood people who comprise the corporate person, questions arise about the consequences – for human beings, the environment, democracy, and the very survival of our planet – of granting immense power to an institution that is, by its very nature, amoral, and whose Terminator-esque prime directive is merely to create wealth for shareholders.

Slick graphic treatments and a rapid-fire editing style, however, juxtapose the voices of CEOs, whistle-blowers, brokers, gurus, spies, insiders, and outsiders, giving both sides equal air time in one of the most contentious debates of the day. Featuring interviews with the Godfather of Anti-Globalization, Noam Chomsky, Canadian (and organically) grown Naomi Klein of No Logo fame, and Bowling For Columbine’s troublemaker emeritus Michael Moore, The Corporation charts the spectacular rise of Big Business whose pathological modus operandi of exploitation, plundering, and profiteering is worthy of an episode of CSI. More heartening, however, are the victory stories, both small and large, against this apparently invincible force. In the wake of several recent high-profile scandals, public confidence in these capitalistic monoliths has been seriously shaken. The Corporation, therefore, is required viewing for activists, label hounds and lovers of brilliant, utterly fascinating documentaries.

The Corporation provides a surprisingly cogent, entertaining, even rabble-rousing indictment of perhaps the most influential institutional model for our era.” – Dennis Harvey, Variety