Detailing his efforts to distribute Bananas!*, his 2009 exposé on Dole’s use of toxic chemicals in Nicaragua, Swedish documentarian Fredrik Gertten’s latest plays as an occasionally fascinating, if ultimately reductive, showdown between First Amendment rights and corporate power. While the sheer extent of the fruit company’s legal campaign to block the film provides a terrifying case study on flexing billion-dollar-business muscle, Gertten never adequately addresses the legal issues at stake. Forced to take the director’s word that he’s in the right (despite a court ruling to the contrary), we’re free to embrace the idea of free speech as an abstract concept—without sufficient understanding of the knotty specifics of this highly individualized case.
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