Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story

Michael Moore's latest offering is an indictment of the death of the American middle class thanks to an increasingly greedy upper class.
He continues to mostly preach to the choir, not entirely by fault of his own. His fans are fervent. His critics even more so.
Sadly, the points of this movie that are not speaking with a liberal bias are read as that by anyone who doesn't actually see the world from Moore's point of view.
Many of the people who trash Moore's politics haven't actually watched his movies, and they are certainly missing out.
Capitalism: A Love Story is following a long tradition of well made documentary films from a champion of the working class. Moore's own liberal slant comes through often in this film, but also questions the democrats who are now at the reins. The politics are secondary in this film though. The heart of his story is told showing the growing disparity between the rich and the poor.
His message is less about the right or the left causing or solving the problems and more about the problem itself. He even points out that politicians did less to cause the problem than they did to ignore the problem and just allow it to happen with the deregulation and looking the other way while the American public was robbed blind.
Drawing a direct line from the golden days of the 40s and 50s to the recession we see now, the main difference shown by Moore is a disastrous imbalance of power. The system worked with the principles of capitalism walking hand-in-hand with the principles of democracy. Once unfettered greed was allowed to run rampant on our financial systems, democracy took a back seat to the politics of the almighty dollar.
He goes as far as arguing that capitalism is a sin that is synonymous with that same unfettered greed. This point seems to be what is resonating with all of the usual Moore detractors.
Nowhere in the movie does Moore actually call for a socialist take over in America, but this is exactly what the anti-Moore folks seem to think he is saying.
He touts the ideals of democracy and illustrates how the people have no power in a country where the banks and CEOs have more influence in the government than the voters do.
Moore makes a lot of valid points and touches on some rather emotional territory to balance the goofy antics like putting up crime scene tape around the stock exchange and some humorous archival footage.
The overall movie is a good balance of humor and gloom. Moore clearly has a point to make, but that is typical for him and for most documentary filmmakers.
Capitalism: A Love Story gets a B+.

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