Stacey Stone, Diane Mellen
Stacey Stone, Diane Mellen
Many disgusting things within this documentary make my skin crawl. Things ranging from outright coverups by huge companies - to scummy and devious plans to save a buck. My personal favorite scummy plan? Attempting to convert a contaminated site to a heritage location or have a monument constructed. All so that an actual cleanup, and the cost associated with a cleanup, could be avoided. Lots of horribly disgusting things going on in this film but the film itself? Nicely executed and sufficiently eye-opening. Stacey Stone and Diane Mellen have put together a top-tier documentary that reminds us that even though we think we've seen it all - we haven't. Not quite. "The Golden Rule" is about profit over safety and the seemingly limitless things big corporations will do to save, and make, a buck.
For those who have never heard the term, the golden rule basically means that the person with the gold makes the rules. Has this ever not been the case throughout history? In today's modern world, however, where everyone can connect with everyone else, mass amounts of people can plan and execute huge movements of detail and reality. But still, big business tries to control and hide its wrongdoings. Back in the fifties and onward, coverups were so much easier and so much larger. Today, big corp has to be even more sneaky. "The Golden Rule" tells the story of contaminated land through meltdowns, fires, and dumping. It also tells of the coverups, ground, air, and water testing that deemed areas safe even though they were not, and everything in between. A testing site for rocket engines in Santa Susana, that has had a few meltdowns over the years, is where the main story of this film goes. But it does branch off from time to time. If this film doesn't make you feel sick to your stomach... I don't know what else would.
The hardest part for me was watching the different children with various cancers and their scared parents. To think companies that publically boast a "contributing to the good in the world" persona are responsible is sickening. Diving deeper into the political aspects makes that sick feeling almost thick enough to cut with a knife. The story just underneath is that even now, the big companies don't care. The politicians don't care. They care because what they were doing has been found out. It's being uncovered. But if the chance comes to do it all again and not get caught comes around, you know they'll do it again - anything for a profit. But it's not just the big guys in on the falsehoods and deceptions. Even realtors selling properties are practicing business in shadowy ways, and land developers? According to this film, they are also guilty. It can all be hard to watch, especially when you know it's all real.
Anything for that almighty dollar is the name of the game, and "The Golden Rule" reminds us that safety means squat when talking big bucks. Everyone wants to profit, and nobody wants to do the right thing. One can only hope that change happens faster now that we're all a little more connected, but who can say for sure. The world needs more films like "The Golden Rule" to keep the pressure on and keep things slowly moving forward. I honestly hope that thousands and thousands of people see this flick. The more, the better. Four out of five stars.