Payback (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Payback (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Margaret Atwood's visionary work Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth is the basis for this riveting and poetic documentary on "debt" in its various forms-societal, personal, environmental, spiritual, criminal, and of course, economic. Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal strikingly interweaves these (sometimes surprising) debtor/creditor relationships: two families in a years-long Albanian blood feud; the BP oil spill vs. the Earth; mistreated Florida tomato farm workers and their bosses; imprisoned media mogul Conrad Black and the U.S. justice system. With stunning cinematography and insightful commentary from renowned thinkers Raj Patel, Louise Arbour and Atwood herself, Payback is a brilliant, game-changing rumination on the subject -- (C) Zeitgeist

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Critic Reviews for Payback

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (11)

There's a splendid audacity in Baichwal trying to bring to the screen something as idea-driven as Atwood's book.

June 20, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Baichwal could have devoted a single film to just BP's disgraceful behavior.

April 27, 2012 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Ultimately, this intriguing but scattershot movie turns on the incompatibility of two worldviews - the corporate-financial vs. the environmental-spiritual.

April 26, 2012 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Adapting non-fiction to cinema can be tricky even for a documentarian, but Jennifer Baichwal makes a game effort at turning Margaret Atwood's book-length essay Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth into a movie.

April 26, 2012 | Rating: B- | Full Review…
Top Critic

Despite trying to fit both the ancient Albanian Kanun legal code and the fate of the environment on the same procrustean bed, Baichwal's free-flowing essay film stands as a thoughtful and compelling meditation on global interconnectivity...

April 24, 2012 | Rating: 3/5

You can't help feeling that the movie owed its subject - and its audience - a bit more.

April 24, 2012 | Rating: 2.5/5

Audience Reviews for Payback


Baichwal continues to disappoint me. In this case, her net is cast too broadly regarding the issue of debts. You get the sense that any of the topics would worth a documentary unto themselves. Instead we get a mishmash of stories with a tenuous connection and featuring the ever 'delightful' Conrad Black.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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