Capitalism: A Love Story
Mr. Moore Goes to Wall Street
There was never really a question of whether controversial filmmaker Michael Moore would tackle the current economic climate or not; it was only really a question of when. In true Moore fashion, he attacks the crisis using old film clips (including some from his own films), interviews with political figures and economic victims, and a few brazen, publicity-seeking stunts. It’s a formula that makes Capitalism: A Love Story another entertaining documentary, but also one that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.
As usual, the goings-on that Moore uncovers are shocking and thought-provoking, such as the idea that companies are taking out life insurance policies on their employees and collecting upon their deaths. Moore uses musical scores from thrillers and crime movies to emphasize what a scary proposition this is; for what would a company be willing to do, knowing their employees are worth more to them dead than alive?
Moore also examines a small town in which its youths were being imprisoned for “crimes” that would just get most kids sent to their room. It seemed the corporate owners of the new juvenile facility were bribing the judges to help build their profit, a practice Moore insinuates is happening on a larger scale across the country.
There is much talk in the film about the large representation of former Goldman Sachs employees now on the Government payroll. Is the insane casino that is Wall Street in charge of our government? Moore seems to think so, and he makes a compelling argument, aided by interviews with some worried members of Congress who think the bailout was nothing more than a large-scale bank robbery.
Not all of the film is fearful and negative. Moore also tells of the sit-in held by the workers at the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago who refused to leave after being laid-off until they were given what they were promised. Everyone showed support for their cause, all the way up to Barack Obama, and eventually the workers got what they wanted. It’s a small victory in the big scheme of the economy, but proof that a difference can be made.
Of course, what everyone usually remembers most about a Michael Moore film are the outlandish, attention-grabbing stunts. In Bowling for Columbine, it was attempting to return the bullets still lodged in the bodies of a couple of Columbine victims to K-Mart. In Sicko, it was attempting to get everyday American citizens into Guantanamo for medical care. Here, Moore backs an armored car up to the AIG office building in a futile attempt to get the American people’s money back. He even attempts to make a citizen’s arrest of the board of directors. To wrap things up, he cordons off the AIG building, the New York Stock Exchange, and other locations with crime-scene tape. Moore certainly has never been accused of being subtle. He even visits members of the clergy to ask if capitalism is a sin.
Whether you buy into Moore’s opinion or not, there’s no denying he knows how to make his case in a strong and entertaining way. He also infuses his tale with a surprising message of hope. After years of hearing Moore rip apart our previous president, just like so many others, the filmmaker looks upon Obama with hope. Franklin D. Roosevelt once proposed a second bill of rights, but passed away before he could implement it. Moore brings that idea back to light and hopes the current administration may see the benefit.
Capitalism: A Love Story is rated R for “some language.” To be honest, I didn’t really notice enough language worthy of the R rating and I think if kids wanted to see this movie, it would probably be okay.
Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of Capitalism: A Love Story.