Released: 11th March 2021
Seen: 5th June 2022

The New Corporation Info

In 2003, the documentary The Corporation was released. It remains one of the most fascinating examinations of corporate culture because it took the common idea that a corporation is a person and asked the question “If Corporations are people, what kind of person would they be?”. Spoilers for a 20-year-old documentary but the answer was a psychopath. It didn’t come to this conclusion lightly either, it literally took the psychological profile of a psychopath and proceeded to show how the world’s biggest corporations ticked every single box with incredible ease. Since The Corporation came out though, the world has changed dramatically so the question The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel asks is “How have corporations changed?” and turns out, they’ve gotten worse.

Utilizing the same visual style of the original, combining carefully written narration, talking-head interviews and stock footage, The New Corporation starts by very quickly reminding the audience of exactly where they left us 20 years ago and pointing out that since then the corporations are still pretty psychopathic, including showing how the profile has been updated since their last movie, but now showing how corporations have pivoted to use political and social issues to help them accumulate even more wealth and the evils that come from that. While The New Corporation isn’t anywhere near as long as The Corporation (There’s roughly 40 minutes difference between the two) it’s still a fairly in-depth exploration as to how things have changed in the last 20 years.

While the film is titled The New Corporation, it’s mostly just about how capitalism has been used by the rich in order to keep them rich while the poor stay poor. While it absolutely brings up big companies playing the system, the thing that’s being called out is the system itself and how easily it’s been bent and broken to favour some people at the expense of literally everyone else. From talking about the Global Financial Crisis (Weird to think that wasn’t even 20 years ago) to the horrors of the plague, this film covers how the economy has been through the wringer the last few decades and how big corporations have used their political reach to somehow keep coming out of these crises unscathed.

The New Corporation

The New Corporation also lays into the environmental issues that come with our heavy reliance on big companies, calling out how they use their political power to do things like try and get the Adani mine going (which hasn’t worked) or just generally push for practices that will inevitably destroy the planet because it’ll help their bottom line, all this while the film also deftly points out that this is all happening while the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It’s a scathing attack on the flaws of capitalism itself and how the last 20 years have given them so much material to work with that they have no choice but to make another documentary about it… or did they?

One big problem that The New Corporation has is one that it cops to right near the end… we know all this. 20 years ago saying that capitalism was flawed was heresy, now we’ve dealt with a couple of global financial crises and a whole goddamn pandemic that laid bare the flaws in the system in a way that literally couldn’t be ignored anymore. We have now got undeniable first-hand experience of the flaws in the system that just keep growing, the film is basically preaching to the choir. To an extent this can be cathartic, it’s nice to be told that you’re not the only one seeing all the problems, but mostly it just has that “Yeah, we know” vibe that the first one didn’t (possibly because the first one had a more interesting structure with the whole “Are corporations, in general, psychopaths” thing).

Still, even though it might be preaching to the choir, The New Corporation is some damn fine preaching that lays out the last 20 years of hell in a way that might at least help put some things in context that you hadn’t quite done yet. It might not be as revelatory as one would like but it’s still very well made and intriguing which is more than enough.

And yes I know this is from a film that’s a year old, I rented it thinking it was from 2022 but my research after watching said it might’ve been 2021 or 2020 but by that point I already wrote this so… sue me

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