Article 43


Movie - Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism: A Love Story profits from populist outrage

By Claudia Puig
USA Today
September 25, 2009

No matter what side of the political fence you’re on or what you think of Moore as an activist and provocateur, a film that explores the economic meltdown and its historical roots is something most of us can get our heads around.

CAPITALISM is impassioned, informative and entertaining, if sometimes repetitive. Moore has never pretended to be objective. Few documentarians are. The minute a camera is aimed at a subject, subjectivity sets in.

Moore may be the most overtly biased major filmmaker and therefore a figure some love to hate. His facts and assertions will continue to be debated with Capitalism as they were with his past films. But his populist sensibility and lively filmmaking techniques are put to good use. Capitalism is as entertaining as Roger & Me, and its critique skewers both major political parties, calling into question the economic policies of Bill Clinton as well as Ronald Reagan.

This is quintessential Moore, with a clear-cut agenda: Capitalism has superseded democracy, encouraged corruption and greed, and failed our nation. Political bigwigs and wealthy executives may love it, but it’s not working for the majority of Americans. His thesis may enrage, amuse or inspire, depending on your ideology and your wallet.

Moore makes his case with humor, humanity and outrageous scenarios intended to get people fired up.

His rallying cry is simple: The country needs to return to its democratic roots.

The film intersperses interviews with historical footage, even unearthing a riveting address by Franklin Roosevelt. He travels from Wall Street to Washington and all around the USA, documenting sheriffs forcibly evicting families from foreclosed homes.

The recurring theme: The rich have gotten richer, and everyone else has suffered. He likens the fall of Wall Street to the decline of the Roman Empire, juxtaposing absurdly funny visuals.

But he’s deadly serious. In an eye-opening interview, Moore talks to a widow who discovered her husband’s employer had taken out and cashed a huge life insurance policy on him. He also discovers the prevalence of this practice in corporate America.

It’s not all doom and financial gloom. Americans are not powerless, his documentary posits. Moore traces the much-publicized story of striking workers at a Chicago factory who fought their layoffs and finally were compensated.

Twenty years ago, Roger & Me focused on disenfranchised General Motors workers and the financial ruin of Moore’s hometown of Flint, Mich. He has since made films about gun control (Bowling for Columbine), the presidency of George W. Bush (Fahrenheit 9/11) and the state of health care (Sicko). The growing divide between the haves and have-nots is something Moore has railed about in all his films.

Moore has the rare ability to present economics and history in an engaging and comprehensive fashion. Consequently, his movies draw large audiences and spur debate. And films that inspire contemplation and elicit discussion are welcome relief in a medium increasingly dominated by formulaic and mindless diversion.


Posted by Elvis on 10/03/09 •
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