DVD Release: Payback

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Aug. 21, 2012
Price: DVD $29.99
Studio: Zeitgeist

Payback movie scene

Margaret Atwood consults her notes in Payback.

Margaret Atwood’s 2008 best-selling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth is the basis for the 2012 documentary Payback, which looks at the concept of “debt” in its various forms—societal, personal, environmental, spiritual, criminal, and of course, economic.

Filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Manufactured Landscapes) interweaves a group of stories about debtor/creditor relationships: two families in a years-long Albanian blood feud; the BP oil spill vs. the Gulf Coast; mistreated Florida tomato farm workers and their bosses; and imprisoned media mogul Conrad Black and the U.S. justice system.

The film also features commentary by academic/activist Raj Patel, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour and Atwood herself.

The unrated Payback received a limited rollout to U.S. theaters in April, 2012. It received only fair reviews, though it appears that the critics appreciated the effort, at the very least. “You can’t help feeling that the movie owed its subject — and its audience — a bit more,” stated The New York Times’ A.O. Scott in his review of the film.

Bonus features include a Q&A with Atwood and director Baichwal and a collection of deleted scenes.

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.