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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Divorce Corp. Movie Review

Everyone in America has had some experience with divorce. We have all either gone through our own divorce or have someone close who has gone through it. The horror stories are legendary, and every possible variation of it has been portrayed in film and on television.

I am one of the lucky ones. I went through a divorce, but it was without rancor. The onset of the divorce proceedings instead provided an end to the problems. Some of my friends have not been so lucky. Their stories always make me picture divorce attorneys turning their clients upside down and shaking them until all of the cash has been extracted, much like a spider sucks the fluid out of the fly caught in its web.

The Documentary "Divorce Corp.", directed by Joseph Sorge, does not really break any new ground. Rather, it is a sensationalistic view of the process, highlighted by some particularly distasteful injustices perpetrated by the system. What we do learn is just how institutionalized and programmed the corruption is. It is entrenched and there are no checks and balances at all.

Maybe I should have known some of this, but for instance, I had no idea that what drives who wins in a divorce case is the exchanging of money between attorneys and judges. Because the judges are elected officials, they are always looking for cash to campaign with. Some attorneys regularly contribute exorbitant amounts to these campaigns, and surprise of surprises, these attorneys always win their client's cases. The facts of the individual cases are insanely irrelevant. Ensuring the corruption is that all appeals face the same set of circumstances. Everyone is bought and paid for.

"Divorce Corp" has some moments that will leave you shaking your head in disbelief and repulsion, but mostly it is a series of talking heads going back and forth, saying the same or similar things over and over again. The repetition can be a bit much, but it still makes its point that the system is in dire need of change. Of course we all know that it is highly unlikely change will ever come. When the major participants are getting filthy rich, the notion that things might change is kind of childish. In essence, my original view of divorce being a chance to steal from the participants is what it is all about. I just didn't realize how organized the thievery was.

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