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Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price

  • Film

Time Out says

Last week, the New York Times ran a surprising article that made a case for Wal-Mart as an unlikely ally of small-business owners. Whether its endeavours on behalf of the little guy are genuine or just a publicity smokescreen, the world’s largest retailer has been stepping up its PR efforts of late, due to attacks exemplified by Robert Greenwald’s damning primer. The muckraker has staked out a healthy share of the market for leftie polemical documentaries with his artless but impassioned films on the American war in Iraq (‘Uncovered’) and the Fox News network (‘Outfoxed’), and Greenwald’s latest compiles a dossier of an American tragedy.

‘Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price’ begins in the heartland, where H&H Hardware, a family-owned store serving Middlefield, Ohio, for three generations, shuts down not long after Wal-Mart bulldozes into the vicinity, leaving a ghost town where a burg out of a John Mellencamp song used to be. The further charges against Wal-Mart beggar belief: vicious union busting, exploitation of undocumented workers, outsourcing to inhumane factories abroad, racial and sexual discrimination and rampant pollution (even the hands-off Environmental Protection Agency, emasculated under the Bush administration, has fined it for misconduct). What’s more, as Greenwald points out, Wal-Mart is the fattest welfare queen you ever did see, since many of their employees resort to Medicaid, government housing, food stamps, and other taxpayer-subsidised resources for the poor. Given the billions in subsidies and municipal gifts bestowed upon this Croesus of a corporation, one might wish that Greenwald could have gotten deeper behind the thinking of the councillors and legislators welcoming Wal-Mart with their arms and wallets open.
Written by Jessica Winter

Release Details

  • Rated:PG
  • Release date:Friday 12 May 2006
  • Duration:95 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Robert Greenwald
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