Published Oct 01, 2009Contrarian shit-disturber Michael Moore lobs another snide sermon right at the converted in his latest essay-doc, Capitalism: A Love Story. From its snarky title to the snarky voiceover to the ironic appropriation of kitschy stock footage, Capitalism is classic Moore, for better and worse.
As usual, Moore's bleeding heart seems in the right place. Capitalism, his most ambitious and unfocused film to date, critiques everything from the principles of free-market exchange to Reaganomics and airline pilot salaries in an attempt to trace the cause of the 2008 global economic crisis.
It's a tall order for any documentarian, especially Moore, whose tendency to wander off into tangential profiles of people afflicted by housing foreclosure or life insurance scams perpetrated by Wal-Mart distracts from any sort of central argument his film may possess.
And as ever, Moore lightens up all the sombre talk of recession, exploitation and government chicanery with some trademark pranks. But (as ever) Moore condescends to his audience, assuming he can't sustain their attention through a two-hour argument, breaking things up by performing citizen's arrests on Wall Street or attempting, yet again, to storm the GM headquarters in Detroit.
This patronizing attitude typifies Moore as both filmmaker and polemicist. In one scene, he sits dumbstruck as a Wall Street economist stumbles through a definition of "derivative," as if his slack-jawed expression is supposed to reflect that of his flabbergasted audience.
It's insulting and it's precisely the sort of thing that most frustrates during Capitalism. Caught up in all the sweeping generalization, you can't help but want to hear a voice from the other side. Unyielding in his authorial autonomy, Moore never allows anyone to talk back.
There are some compelling points to be made but in typical Moore fashion, they become clouded by his overindulgent showmanship. (Alliance)