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A Reel Life film section

Issue: Summer 2015-6

The Price We Pay (2014) movie review

The Cost of Doing Business with Business

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movie poster (documentary) The Price We Pay, Festivale film review; 400x579

Movie poster, The Price We Pay

A documentary on the history and present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, which has seen multinationals depriving governments of trillions of dollars in tax revenues by harboring profits in offshore havens.

The Price We Pay takes on the difficult task of exposing the hidden workings of the global financial system, and does so in a surprisingly interesting way that is accessible to viewers without knowledge of economics or law.

Analysing phenomena such as tax havens, intellectual property and income disparity, the film shows not only interviews with interested parties but also footage of official inquiries, grass roots protests against the rich, and fascinating clips of the reality of tax havens as they really exist.

The subject material remains interesting throughout the film, addressing issues likely to affect any viewer. Clear graphs and maps demonstrate to us the enormity of the repercussions of corporate tax evasion on the market, and how those charged with managing economies must also carefully negotiate the interests of those who hold the real power. Using famous examples of cheating multinationals such as Amazon and Google, links are drawn between offshore banking, inequity in taxation, burdens on the middle class and civil unrest.

In plain terms it is outlined how corporations use legal loopholes and not-so-subtle manipulation to make the law fit their needs and drive their profits. The absurdity of concepts such as the Double Irish are explained in legal terms, then jokingly explained by interviewees making cocktails. We are given opportunities for laughs, due to both the interesting selection of venues and participants, and to the well-phrased cynicism at the surreal position we find ourselves in, where law governs every move without being able to control anything.

We are introduced to some different points of view on how to proceed with the situation now that we have understood it and, in keeping with the rest of the film, these ideas are critiqued and analysed by many of the interviewees. The participants all colour the tone of the movie, taking it rapidly from sombre to insightful to hopeful, and round again.

Definitely a film worth seeing, if not multiple times.

Part of the Transitions Film Festival at Cinema Nove. For more information see the Transitions Film Festival web site

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by Laura Tikotin
Australian showing at Transitions Film Festivale 26 Feb 2016
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.
See also:

See the trailer

The Emperor's New Clothes

See more films to be released in Feb 2016

Just the facts:

Title: The Price We Pay (2014)
Written by: Harold Crooks & Brigitte Alepin
Directed by: Harold Crooks
Running time: 93 mins

The Players: documentary

Official website:
IMDb entry

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