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Michael Moore hits one out of the park

‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ takes dead aim at the sordid romance between Wall St. and Washington


 
Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism: A Love Story

Saw the new Michael Moore documentary this afternoon. Capitalism: A Love Story. Love him or hate him, Moore is America’s most successful documentary filmmaker and the de-facto leader of the populist left. His filmmaking becomes more sophisticated with each outing, and this is arguably the best thing he’s ever done. For all it’s poetic licence, Sicko served as the definitive attack on private health insurance in the U.S. Now he takes on the whole shooting match with Capitalism: A Love Story. It’s the most sophisticated film of his career. Sure, it’s propaganda, but his own voice is less strident, and more wistful than ever. And despite the title, this is no ideological rant. While tiptoeing around the “socialist” bogeyman, he wages a thoroughly convincing polemic that pits capitalism against democracy. He dramatizes the atrocities of the financial collapse, the bailout and the epidemic of home foreclosures to drive home his point. It’s amazing what an agit-prop filmmaker can do with some serious resources. Moore digs up extraordinary revelations about “dead peasant” insurance taken out by major corporations that hope to profit from the early deaths of their employees—without their knowledge. It’s a scandal that deserves its own documentary. As usual, this film contains a lot of what the media likes to call “sob stories.” But Moore doesn’t patronize his subjects the way he used to. And for once he keeps his own rage (which can get ugly) under wraps. His signature guerrilla stunts are funny, effective and restrained. Taking dead aim at his main target, he exposes the obscene romance between Washington and and Wall Street with a fine balance of rapier wit and measured pathos. His most inspired touch: to finesse his argument by drafting F.D.R. onto his side. And here’s the thing: in the debate over Moore’s politics, his artistry as a filmmaker often gets overlooked. With Capitalism: A Love Story, it soars to new heights. His excavation and montage of archival gems is brilliant, as is his use of music and narration to underscore comic and tragic ironies. Moore is a consummate showman. Capitalism: A Love Story is a strange kind of romantic comedy. And perhaps the ultimate pathos that emerges at the end is his own isolation as the sad clown of anti-capitalism—a lonely voice with a powerful megaphone who’s still waiting for a movement to catch up to him.

For my ever-expanding list of TIFF favorites, go to: Best of the Fest


 

Michael Moore hits one out of the park

  1. So this movie will have free admission in wide release, right?

  2. "Documentary"?

    Far from an objective search for the truth, his movies – all of them – start with an ideological premise and skew, omit, exxagerate, or just plain concoct facts to accord with that premise.

    I believe the basic term for this is propaganda.

    Of course, one of the leftist media's most utilized (albeit incredibly dishonest) tools is posing as neutral purveyors of fact, while aggressively pursuing a "progressive" political objective.

    • …and the right have never tried that one right biff? ps where did you guys put all those wmd y'all dug up again?

  3. His film was shut out from the awards at the Venice film fest. Anyway, we'll see what the reviews look like. I expect that like everything else political, the reaction will be polarized.

    • Makes me wonder if the three "experts" you refer to would have the imagination and courage of a Michael Moore. Somehow, I doubt it, but then what do I know – being courage-challenged myself.

      • Moore is far from perfect, and by my own admission, I am annoyed by some of the things that he does. With that said, he does raise some interesting things to think about which reach a wider audience. No doubt, Moore is not a scholar, but I think his work is important, and I do appreciate him for challenging the powers that be, as this does require courage.

        • You make an interesting point. If he didn't challenge the powers that be he would be exercising his democratic right wouldn't he…

          • Correction: If he didn't challenge the powers that be he (wouldn't) be exercising his democratic right

      • The "experts" are anhedonic souls. It's best to just nod and smile.

  4. So being that capitalism is so appalling, and all, this movie will have totally free admission in wide release, right?

    • Why should it? Socialism never involved the absence of money, salaries, or the ordinary economy.

      • Ah, but Moore could at least forswear any personal profit, were he truly sincere in his beliefs; anything less would seem awfully hypocritical, under the circumstances. Has he in fact promised to donate any and all proceeds to charity, or similar?

      • Ah, but Moore could at least forswear any personal profit and donate his own wealth to subsidize the theatres' expenses, in order to minimize any financial gains made by anyone involved, were he truly sincere in his beliefs.

        Has he in fact promised to donate any and all proceeds to charity, or similar? Anything less would seem awfully hypocritical, under the circumstances.

      • Ah, but Moore could at least forswear any personal profit and donate his own wealth to subsidize the theatres' expenses, in order to minimize any financial gains made by anyone involved, were he truly sincere in the belief that capitalism is unjust, iniquitous, mean, etc.

        Has he in fact promised to donate any and all proceeds to charity, or similar? Anything less would seem awfully hypocritical, under the circumstances.

        • Might depend on how he financed the film, no? Entrepreneurship and capitalism are two different things.

        • Might depend on how he financed the film, no? Entrepreneurship and capitalism are two different things. Anyway, as Scott Fitzgerald said, "In order to bring on the Revolution, it may be necessary to work inside the Communist Party."

          • He and some friends financed his first film through loans and mortgages. Each subsequent film
            has been financed from the proceeds of the preceding ones. And he does make an interesting
            gesture in the place where he lives …..

            http://www.canada.com/tells+shows+Filmmaker+Micha

        • i beleive he distributed his last movie for free, so who knows.

          • Anyone can put their work online for free download; that's hardly a dramatic gesture when pirated copies are easily obtained with similar effort. No, what I'm curious about is whether Moore is likely (or intends) to personally profit from this film in any way beyond publicity. Will it have a wide cinematic release? Will there be a DVD? Where's the ordinary writer-director's cut of the proceeds going?

          • Anyone can put their work online for free download; that's hardly a dramatic gesture when pirated copies are easily obtained with similar effort. No, what I'm curious about is whether Moore is likely (or intends) to personally profit from this film in any way beyond publicity. Will it have a wide cinematic release? Will there be a DVD? Where's the ordinary writer-director's cut of the gross going?

          • then pls read Sam below. he gets it. and Jack above.

          • then pls read Sam below. he gets it.

          • Your first suggestion implied that Moore should subsidy the theater ticket price as a means to thwart the efforts of capitalism. So basically he should use the money he gets from the distributors to make sure more people see his film and in turn provide his distributors with more revenues.

            I don't think you thought this through.

    • I'm always amused by the people who try to discredit Moore by raising attention to the fact that he makes money from his movies. Shame on him!!! And as punishment, everyone should ignore any points/observations that he has made. Everything is perfect. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain……

      • The irony is, if that he got what he wanted, nobody would ever again have the opportunities that he had.

        • Um – clarify exactly WHAT it is that he wants, and what these opportunities are that you speak of. No joke. I'm a little unclear….

          • Oh, don't be obtuse.

            In a command economy of the sort he'd prefer, artists tend to have little freedom to express themselves outside of the themes and subjects the state wishes. A rabble-rouser like Moore opposed to the status quo in such a system wouldn't be able to become a successful filmmaker (at least, making films he'd want to make), because he'd be denied funding/distribution/permits in such a way as to be effectively censored.

          • Oh, don't be obtuse.

            In a command economy of the sort he'd prefer, artists tend to have little freedom to express themselves outside of the themes and subjects the state wishes, whether explicitly regulated or not. A rabble-rouser like Moore opposed to the status quo in such a system wouldn't be able to become a successful filmmaker (at least, making films he'd want to make), because he'd be denied necessary funding/distribution/permits in such a way as to be effectively censored.

          • Thanks for answering a question I posted to someone else.

            "Oh, don't be obtuse."

            Ibid.

            I think it is silly to make such fanciful alternate reality predictions of what things would be like if only…
            Honestly – How are you an expert of what the world would be like? Perhaps you've been watching too much "Fringe"?

          • I filled in the blank for you because the implication was glaringly obvious, and if you weren't being purposefully obtuse, you must be kind of thick. None of what I said is hypothetical or at all fanciful; read up on the history of the Soviet film industry, for instance.

          • I filled in the blank for you because the implication was glaringly obvious, and if you weren't being deliberately obtuse, you must be kind of thick. None of what I said is hypothetical or at all fanciful; read up on the history of the Soviet film industry, for instance.

          • I filled in the blank for you because the implication was glaringly obvious, and if you weren't being deliberately obtuse, you must be kind of thick. I also wasn't aware that you and only you are entitled to be spoken to only by those whom you choose on the Internet; begging your pardon, your highness.

            None of what I said is hypothetical or at all fanciful; read up on the history of the Soviet film industry, for instance. It is awfully handy to have historical records of how a bad idea didn't work out very well, the last time it was tried.

          • I filled in the blank for you because the implication was glaringly obvious, and if you weren't being deliberately obtuse, you must be kind of thick. I also wasn't aware that you and only you are entitled to be spoken to only by those whom you so choose on the Internet. Begging your pardon, your highness.

            None of what I said is hypothetical or at all fanciful; read up on the history of the Soviet film industry, for instance. It is awfully handy to have historical records of how a bad idea didn't work out very well, the last time it was tried.

          • I filled in the blank for you because the implication was glaringly obvious, and if you weren't being deliberately obtuse, you must be kind of thick. I also wasn't aware that you and only you are entitled to be spoken to only by those whom you so choose on the Internet. Begging your pardon, your highness.

            To return to the point: none of what I said is hypothetical or fanciful. Read up on the history of the Soviet film industry, for instance. It is awfully handy to have historical records of how a bad idea didn't work out very well, the last time it was tried.

          • You're absolutely right AVR. I went on Moore's website and right at top of it is written "My foremost goal is to make the US a Fachist-Muslim-Communist country."

            Get real.

          • Are you seriously saying we don't know the consequences of socialism? It's been tried, many times, in many disparate places, such as Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, various others, and to lesser degrees elsewhere. One of the common consequence is a complete lack of artistic freedom and a stifling amount of government censorship.
            Have you even noticed there are no good movies coming out of socialist countries, especially movies of the type that Moore likes to produce, that criticize institutions in society?

    • LOL, capitalism isint appalling avr, confusing capitalism with a moral framework that transcends all other dogmas, however, can be as systemically malignant as cancer. Moore can still perform a service, produce a product, market it and sell it.

  5. Propaganda has become an acquired taste. Documentaries are formulaic and easy to produce. You can follow anyone or anything that exists and spin them into heroes or villains.
    I remember when they aired a mockumentary about the moon landings one day. The next day most of my workplace was convinced they never happened. None of them, NONE, watched the entire show. ("Dark Side of the Moon" on the passionate eye with an intro by our very own GG)
    So many people don't have an ounce of critical thinking in their experience. Along come pied pipers like Moore, and the ignorant masses start to think they are smart to repeat smart sounding lies. Some of them know its a lie, but participate because its for a "good" cause.
    The best we can do is support anti-moores like Glenn Beck. If lie wars reach a certain pitch, maybe people will just tune out.
    Oh yes. Thank you Micheal Moore for reducing people thus. You may yet lead us out of our golden age like Constantine himself. I am determined to plant the seeds of the next renaissance wherever I can.

    • I see a lot of anti-Moore comment go along the same line as yours: lots of name calling, not much debunking. Moore's work can be described as one-sided but bias is not synonymous with lies. You want to speak of critical thinking, start with the ad hominem attacks on Moore as a means to "bring balance" to his work.

  6. I went and watched the movie during the 2nd screening @TIFF. I have to agree with Johnson's review.
    Thankfully, it is not as preachy as some of his other work. As always, his use of archival footage really helps deliver his critique of the problems of capitalism in the present age. Watching the FDR archival footage and his suggested 2nd bill of rights almost brought tears to my eyes. One can't help but wonder how different the world would have been had FDR lived a few more years.

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