Wal-Mart: The High Cost Of Low Price Review

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The retail monster behind Asda and the biggest fortune this side of Bill Gates gets the investigative treatment from politico Robert Greenwald.


Robert Greenwald is the veteran documentarist-cum-political activist behind such films as Outfoxed and Uncovered: The War On Iraq. Here he is in Naomi Klein territory as he puts US retail giant Wal-Mart under intense scrutiny. A company so American it was founded by a family named the Waltons, Wal-Mart is notorious for its nefarious business practices and aggressive expansion strategies. Greenwald takes a more scattershot approach than he usually does (a few more weeks in the edit suite might have helped), using dozens of interviews spanning three continents to document such abuses as child-labour violations, employee lock-ins, employment of illegal immigrants, store closures designed to crush emergent unions, disregard of health care and environmental responsibilities, threats to minimum-wage workers who unionise or resist unpaid overtime, and worse… All of which, as the film shows, could be coming soon to a Wal-Mart-owned Asda near you.

With more thorough editing this could have been on a par with Greenwald's previous films. His source material is gripping, but not life-changing.