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Based on 11 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( )
  • 40
    The Hollywood Reporter

    Aesthetically, it's desultory. Talking-heads rants and ruminations are further stultified by the amateurish aesthetics. Visually, zooms, pans and filler moments enervate the message. Most annoying, the dour music grates throughout; its hollow grinding, we'd guess, is an attempt to impart profundity. show more

  • 60
    Mark Jenkins NPR

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

  • 75
    Rick Groen The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

    Payback is nothing if not brave. It's a documentary attempt to give concrete shape to an abstract discussion, using the medium of film to transplant a nuanced thesis – on the concept of debt – from its natural home on the printed page. show more

  • 63
    Mark Feeney Boston Globe

    Debt is bad, we can all agree, as is its conceptual cousin, greed. It would have been intellectually bracing, though, to have a Gordon Gekko equivalent on hand to argue otherwise. show more

  • 63
    Bill Weber Slant Magazine

    This documentary on the many forms of human debt, though often frustratingly broad, offers a path to balancing civilization's ledger with a hard-nosed brand of altruism. show more

  • 50
    V.A. Musetto New York Post

    All are subjects worthy of discussion, but tackling them in one film disrupts the movie's momentum and shortchanges viewers. Baichwal could have devoted a single film to just BP's disgraceful behavior. show more

  • 60
    Time Out New York

    While the movie occasionally stretches too far to maintain thematic coherence, its momentum is sustained by the urgency of its case studies, as well as the sense of outrage at the injustices perpetuated at the behest of powerful monetary interests and its striking imagery. show more

  • 60
    Rob Nelson Variety

    Payback is a rarefied conceptual documentary that will appeal to a limited but highly appreciative audience. show more

  • 50
    Village Voice

    Cinematic globe-trotting doesn't necessarily trump reading a good book, it turns out; then again, more movies should be burdened with the flaw of being too intellectually curious. show more

  • 50
    A.O. Scott The New York Times

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

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