Capitalism: A Love Story


Liberal tubthumping. Preaching to the converted Discuss this article

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Liberal tubthumping. Preaching to the converted. Emotional pornography. Call it what you will, but Michael Moore has never made a film that you couldn’t call highly entertaining. And so it is with Captialism: A Love Story, a double-barrelled attack on US corporate fat-cat culture that’s also a clarion call to the gruelling modern plight of the Little Man.

All the staple Moore documentary techniques are present and correct, from the small-scale case studies and sarcastic voiceover to the ironic use of archive footage and harebrained stunt at the end. And while he’s saying nothing that a cursory scan of the nearest broadsheet wouldn’t tell you in much greater depth, it’s clear that his aim is to motivate and incense rather than to educate and inform. Seen within those parameters, this new film is another barnstorming success.

Returning to themes first explored in his feature debut, Roger & Me, Moore is again concerned with finding out if the top five per cent of earners in the US have any idea of the crippling poverty that many of the bottom 95 per cent are living in. Much of the film documents the creative ways in which banks and corporations that operate in a system virtually free from regulation are able to capitalise on working-class misery.

Moore covers the rash of home evictions occurring across the States as banks raise mortgage payments to unreasonable levels. He saves most of his ammo for the September 2008 banking collapse and uses it not only to question why the companies got in a mess in the first place, but to uncover the uncomfortably large overlap between the financial institutions and government. Capitalism is, in Moore’s view, evil, and his arguments, if not entirely convincing, are sufficiently confrontational and affecting to hold the attention.

Moore channels his rage into his voiceover. His question to a leading economist regarding the collapse of Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers: ‘What the f*** happened?!’ Yet there are moments where he’s also in a self-mocking frame of mind, as when he’s asking city workers for advice as they file out of the office doors. ‘Stop making movies’ is one banker’s acerbic reply.

Whether Capitalism: A Love Story reflects a better form of political documentary filmmaking than something like Alex Gibney’s Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room or Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott’s The Corporation is doubtful. But if you want to know which film is most likely to have you storming out of the cinema and throwing a brick through the window of your local bank, Moore has the competition sewn up.

By David Jenkins
Time Out Doha,

Capitalism: A Love Story

  • Duration: 127
  • Released: Thu, 05 Nov
  • Classification: 18+
  • Language: English
  • Website
  • Director: Michael Moore
  • Stars: Michael Moore

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