Psychopaths, Inc

By By Aaron Allen and

By Aaron Allen

“The Corporation”Zeitgeist Films Directed by Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar Written by Joel Bakan and Harold CrooksNot ratedRunning Time: 145 minutes

Four out of five stars

Carnivorous corporations are the flavor of the season in movie villain-dom. In June came Michael Moore’s close-range shotgun blast on the Bush administration’s proactive ties to a military/industrial complex (among other things) in “Farenheit 9-11.” Jonathan Demme swapped brainwashing politicos for brainwashing corporate greed-meisters in July’s remake of “The Manchurian Candidate.” Now (although released earlier this summer), comes a damning documentary from Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbott and Joel Bakan, simply titled, “The Corporation.”

It nails the scary, stomping, all-consuming corporate Godzillas with incisive coolness.

The film covers a vast, vast, VAST scope-pollution and privatizing and sweatshops, oh my!-and to make that smorgasbord of grim-formation entertaining, the facts are presented in blessedly original ways.

For example, administering a personality diagnostic and declaring the corporation officially psychopathic (callous unconcern for others, deceitfulness, failure to conform to social norms, etc.) all while being scored to a soundtrack as chilly as…well…perhaps Kathy Lee Gifford’s “Say cheese!” smile.

At two and a half hours, the film is too long and like a very passionate soap-boxer who makes his point and then makes it again and again, it begins to sound a bit repetitive.

There are times when the film condemns its subject to a bloody pulp when a severe bruising would have done the job just as well in half the time. For example, who is shocked to hear that television aims advertising at the malleable minds of America’s children? Or that-gasp!-some people profit from war?! Easy shots.

More effective is the story of Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, two investigative journalists fired by Fox News for refusing to soften the facts of a story that might save lives, but damage a powerful and persuasive corporation with billions of dollars at stake. Akre and Wilson stand their ground and fight the network in court. Heroic, yes, but guess who wins?

Although quick to provoke emotional frustration via futility due to such a massive frame of reference, “The Corporation” has a venomous spite for its subject that makes it ceaselessly watchable, even through the extraneous parts.

Maybe that’s the point, like the scene of a bad accident one can’t help but slow down to observe-or in this case, a monumental and overwhelming problem facing society that seems unbeatable, being “hard to watch” and “can’t stop staring” end up being the same thing.

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