Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Capitalism: A Love Story" Shows No Love for Greed

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 88 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Running time: 127 minutes (2 hours, 7 minutes)
MPAA – R for some language
PRODUCERS: Anne Moore and Michael Moore
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Marracino and Jayme Roy
EDITORS: Jessica Brunetto, Alex Meillier, Tanya Meillier, Conor O'Neill, Pablo Proenza, T. Woody Richman, and John Walter


Starring: Michael Moore, William Black, US Congressman Elijah Cummings, Sheriff Warren Evans, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Wallace Shawn, and Elizabeth Warren

Capitalism: A Love Story is a 2009 documentary film by author and director, Michael Moore. The film focuses on the financial crisis that began in 2007 (and continued into 2010) and indicts capitalism and the current economic order of the United States. Moore details how capitalism via corporations dominates the lives of Americans and the rest of the world (by default).

Moore’s film travels around the country, especially Middle America, detailing how the excesses of capitalism and corporate greed have damaged, even destroyed the lives of some Americans. Moore attempts to enter the halls of power in Washington D.C. and the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, specifically Wall Street, to discuss greed and government bailouts. Capitalism: A Love Story’s topics include corporate-owned life insurance (called “dead peasants insurance), for-profit prisons, home foreclosures and evictions, the influence of Goldman Sachs in Washington D.C., modern worker strikes, Wall Street’s “casino mentality,” and more. The film asks several questions, but the most prominent being, what is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? The film also has a religious component in which Moore wonders if capitalism is a sin and if Jesus would have been a capitalist.

Obviously the title, Capitalism: A Love Story, is a misnomer, but this isn’t a hate story. Moore examines “unfettered and unregulated” capitalism and also how modern capitalism is defined by greed, an insatiable lust for money, and the tendency to view everything and everyone as a commodity – all subject to exploitation. Moore is more than just a documentary filmmaker; he is also a crusader. As such he presents evidence and information specifically designed to prove his point – in this case that capitalism is destructive and evil – and also to get his audience politically aware and socially active.

Sometimes, Moore’s own actions in his movies come across as stunts – like his antics on Wall Street and near Congress in this movie. In Capitalism: A Love Story, this only serves to hurt the movie’s credibility and also makes him look more like a prankster than a documentary filmmaker. Like Fahrenheit 9/11, Capitalism: A Love Story avoids perfection because of its creator’s tendency to clown.

Still, Moore dazzles with his ability to tell stories about the struggles and suffering of ordinary working Americans. He is also one of the best American filmmakers working today. Impressive storytelling and exceptional technical skills are the calling cards of this brilliant movie director. When such a director tackles our nation’s most pressing issues, we should pay attention because it matters.

8 of 10

2010 Image Awards: 1 nomination: “Award Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical or Television)”

Sunday, October 31, 2010

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