Documentary Review: The Corporate Coup d’État

Courtesy of Hot Docs Festival.

The new documentary The Corporate Coup d’État explores the current state of American politics by shining a revealing spotlight on modern corporatism. An ideology rooted in fascism, modern corporatism involves the government being controlled not by the electorate but rather by big interest groups. The film also explores the way in which this new age in politics has affected the U.S.  in regards to  how such a system has slowly eroded the nation’s industrial base as well as alienated entire communities of vulnerable American workers.

The Corporate Coup d’État aptly traces the roots of corporatism back in history to pre-World War II times and the principles espoused by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Produced by the same filmmakers who made the 2016 doc All Governments Lie, The Corporate Coup d’État is an important film: one which aims to educate viewers as to the powerful economic forces currently at work reshaping America’s political system.  

Directed by Fred Peabody, this investigative documentary features an array of journalists, authors, and activists including Chris Hedges, Maude Barlow, and Lee Fang. The Corporate Coup d’État also makes use of archival footage of past political figures such as Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, and Benito Mussolini. As a way to further illustrate the documentary’s corporate takeover theme, the filmmakers have also effectively chosen to include relevant clips from several movies including Network (1976) and Wall Street (1987).

This documentary illustrates how lobbyists and big business interests have co-opted the U.S. government and in turn abandoned America’s industrial workers. The most powerful scenes in the film involve visits to two dilapidated communities left behind by both big business and politicians alike. The film spends a significant amount of time in the towns of Camden, New Jersey and Youngstown, Ohio. While in these towns, the filmmakers allow several voters to voice their opinions on the state of modern American politics as well as offer their impressions of Trump as president. One voter says that during the last election, he was torn between supporting Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump. When referring to Trump’s lofty promises to end corruption in Washington, the voter responds by stating that he believes Trump didn’t drain the swamp but rather moved it into the White House. He also proclaims his disturbing belief that “there’s a Trump inside every American.”

Courtesy of Hot Docs Festival.

Although The Corporate Coup d’État begins with Donald Trump being sworn into office, the documentary makes it clear that the influence of corporatism didn’t begin with Trump and furthermore won’t end with his presidency. The documentary instead makes the case that the increasing influence of corporatism has existed for many years even under the past Democratic administrations of Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The film portrays President Trump as a symptom of a much bigger problem rather than simply the disease itself. The documentary makes it clear that years after the Trump presidency has faded from memory, the problem of big business’ influence on America’s workforce, economy, and government will remain a major concern.    

The Corporate Coup d’État is an insightful and thought provoking documentary which should be required viewing for every American voter before stepping into the voting booth next November.

The Corporate Coup d’État is now available to view on DVD.

About C.L. Illsley

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia but have called Montreal home since 1999. I received degrees from Mount Saint Vincent University & Concordia University. I enjoy writing, watching movies, & most of all spending time with my 4 cats. Contact: Facebook | Twitter | More Posts