Payback (2012)

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Margaret Atwood's visionary work Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth is the basis for this riveting and poetic documentary on "debt" in its various forms-societal, personal, environmental, spiritual, criminal, and of course, economic. Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal strikingly interweaves these (sometimes surprising) debtor/creditor relationships: two families in a years-long Albanian blood feud; the BP oil spill vs. the Earth; mistreated Florida tomato farm workers and their bosses; imprisoned media mogul Conrad Black and the U.S. justice system. With stunning cinematography and insightful commentary from renowned thinkers Raj Patel, Louise Arbour and Atwood herself, Payback is a brilliant, game-changing rumination on the subject -- (C) Zeitgeist

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Critic Reviews for Payback

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (10)

There's a splendid audacity in Baichwal trying to bring to the screen something as idea-driven as Atwood's book.

Jun 20, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Baichwal could have devoted a single film to just BP's disgraceful behavior.

Apr 27, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Ultimately, this intriguing but scattershot movie turns on the incompatibility of two worldviews - the corporate-financial vs. the environmental-spiritual.

Apr 26, 2012 | Full Review…
NPR
Top Critic

Adapting non-fiction to cinema can be tricky even for a documentarian, but Jennifer Baichwal makes a game effort at turning Margaret Atwood's book-length essay Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth into a movie.

Apr 26, 2012 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
AV Club
Top Critic

Despite trying to fit both the ancient Albanian Kanun legal code and the fate of the environment on the same procrustean bed, Baichwal's free-flowing essay film stands as a thoughtful and compelling meditation on global interconnectivity...

Apr 24, 2012 | Rating: 3/5

You can't help feeling that the movie owed its subject - and its audience - a bit more.

Apr 24, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/5

Audience Reviews for Payback

½

Baichwal continues to disappoint me. In this case, her net is cast too broadly regarding the issue of debts. You get the sense that any of the topics would worth a documentary unto themselves. Instead we get a mishmash of stories with a tenuous connection and featuring the ever 'delightful' Conrad Black.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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