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Important Subject, Ham-Handed Presentation
16 July 2006
I'm a liberal, anti-big-bully-business bleeding heart. Nobody dislikes Wal-Mart, and the amoral, vicious corporate attitude of which they certainly are the apotheosis, more than I. So I was more than a bit disappointed to discover that this film wasn't made for me and my well educated friends, nor does it invite its perhaps less well versed viewers to think fully and carefully about the issues from the ground up. It is a hammy, manipulative, awkward screed, that takes an important issue and shoves it through the left-wing version of a right- wing low brow attack ad.

The pacing is clumsy. The editing is herky-jerky, the real-life victims are presented in a mawkish, stereotyped fashion, the music is jarring, syrupy, preachy, melodramatic and frequently too loud to hear the simultaneous dialogue. The fragments of conversation with interviewees are sometimes hard to decipher - expressed in sentence fragments and mumbling disconnection. The statistics are too often presented without adequate context, without appropriate reference points for comparison. An isolated total dollar amount or employment number is not revealing without some reference data, and that is most often missing here.

All I can think is that the producers want to appeal to the right-leaning, flag waving, rural America crowd by pushing all the buttons that the new GOP does, to get their atavistic outrage going and impel them "into the streets" - instead of appealing to the sober intelligence they actually can display when given a fair chance and a dignified explanation of the facts. It is, ultimately, a shallow and condescending film.

With our allies imitating the worst tactics of our adversaries, what are we to say? Well, for one, see the "Frontline" documentary. Then "hit the streets."
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