PAYBACK (Mongrel, 2012) D: Jennifer Baichwal. Rating: NN; DVD package: NNN Rating: NN
Director Jennifer Baichwal takes a few of the philosophical musings set down in Margaret Atwood's non-fiction Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth, reduces them to a sentence or two and then uses them to set up a quartet of unrelated stories: a blood feud in Albania, the Gulf oil spill, a burglar in prison, and migrant farm workers striving for a better deal in Florida. In between, notables like former Supreme Court judge Louise Arbour offer brief remarks.
There are fine moments in the stories, notably the contrast between the burglar's genuine remorse and Conrad Black's absolute absence of same, but overall they lack detail and do little to explain the concept of debt.
The extras give a better taste of Atwood's ideas, and renowned primatologist Jane Goodall offers words of hope. There's also an illuminating scene where primatologist Frans de Waal walks Atwood through a fairness experiment involving a pair of chimpanzees.
EXTRAS Deleted scenes. English audio. French subtitles.