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Mark Achbar & Jennifer Abbott (dirs) based on a book by Joel Bakon, 'The Corporation'

English language; running time 144mins; at cinemas on limited release

Imagine Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Nike as real people. This is how The Corporation – the latest political documentary to hit our cinema screens – begins. In taking a look at the psychological profile of a modern day corporation – its self-interested nature, its inability to feel guilt and its uncaring stance – the film reveals that our favourite brands fit precisely the medical definition of a psychopath. Unfortunately, as the documentary explains, under today’s laws, a corporation is a person. It has all the rights and freedoms of a person, however, it lacks the most essential human quality – the capacity for moral judgement. Featuring Michael Moore, Naomi Kline and Noam Chomsky among others, the film uses examples from around the world, to illustrate how corporations are polluting our environment, causing illness and umemployment, perpetuating poverty, looting, stealing, killing – and all with the support of governments and international institutions. It uncovers a darker side behind the glossy, corporate images espoused by marketing men with over-sized advertising budgets. It shows how all-consuming and engrained in our culture the corporation has become, and looks at the real people who make up the mechanics of the beast. This film is not all doom and gloom. It shows how different actors are effecting change, from the inside as well as from the outside. Indeed, perhaps the most inspiring character to feature is the reformed, ethically aware CEO of the world’s largest carpet company, whose focus on sustainability is an example to corporations everywhere. Despite being a little on the long side and in danger of preaching to the converted, The Corporation is an important and empowering look at the most powerful – and the most dangerous – institution of our time.

Topics: Economics | Culture