you can't buy small town life in a big box store cause they just don't sell it

answering the phones for a living beats working in a wal-mart factory in china, or working in a walmart store in north dakota for that matter. that was the underlying theme of robert greenwald's new documentary "the high cost of low price".

i am a liberal, somewhat educated and reasonably informed american disliker, or more to the point non-american sympathizer. having said that i was prepared for this documentary to be aimed at me. it wasn't. instead it was littered with tear jerking stories of 90 year old farmers loosing their preverbial farms. we find them sitting in the back field while off in the distance the neon red of a giant walmart sign casts a sinister glow on the scene. to say this movie is pandering to the common denominator with it's bleeding heart flag flying philosophies is an understatement.

i am hesistant to say it was completely flawed if for no other reason then it covers some very important ground: the billions in subsidies the company receives from the US government every year to build in communities, the non-existent philanthropy practices of the walton family (the richest family in north america), the wages and working conditions in chinese and bangledesh factories as well as the working conditions of employees in american stores including racism, sexism and corrupt management practices as an ingrained part of the corporate culture and perhaps the most important, the power the people can have when collectively they choose to say "not in our town". there is no doubt that this film accomplishes the task of leaving a sour taste in ones mouth.

what i would argue however, is that due to it's obscurity this documentary is really only going to be seen by those who seek it out, those that already know the facts, those that are ultimately seeking intelligent film making surrounding a controversial issue. i wasn't looking for the same old same old and i certainly wasn't looking to see a montage of people crying over the loss of their communities innocence, i was looking for a new perspective, to be wowed by the power of film. ultimately this would never have been possible in this film.

i wish we could project it onto the side of every walmart in america though, late at night and have everyone in the community come out to see it. then it would be effective in it's aim. sadly, this could never happen.

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