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CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY

Arguing that the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world), Michael Moore explores the question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings, according to the film.

Review by Louise Keller:
Michael Moore is at it again; this time it’s about capitalism, democracy, fraud and rebellion. The enemy is the banking system and Corporate America - and Moore milks his points by staging stunts like asking banks (with cloth money bag in hand) to give back the money they have stolen from the working class. He also puts yellow crime scene tape around the banks in Wall Street. The stunts bring him attention which allows him to put a human face on his cause.

There’s both grit and entertainment value in the film, although if you have seen Moore’s other films, you may, like me, feel as though you have seen it all before. It’s long, too. Special effects are made through music, movies that are redubbed to make a point, revealing television footage of an American President being told to ‘speed it up’ are some of the show-biz side of things. It all follows a formula. Moore manipulates to make his point, and his irreverence is often endearing. (When the issue of jobs being lost is raised, we see footage of former President George W. Bush dancing and playing the bongos.) Much of the content is US-specific and undoubtedly the film will play more effectively in America.

In Moore’s first film Roger & Me, he canvassed how the General Motors Corporation destroyed his home town of Flint, Michigan. Now, 20 years later, the issue is revisited as part of his examination of corporate domination. How will this generation be remembered, he asks? The film jumps wildly from cats flushing toilets, depictions of ancient Rome, families being evicted in modern day America, foreclosures, discussions about free enterprise, the direction President Reagan took the country, profit making juvenile facilities, pilots’ abysmal wages (and those who have to take second jobs to survive), corporate insurance fraud, derivatives, bank mortgage frauds, Obama’s election, the fall and fall of Wall Street and the suggestion of a financial coup d’etat.

To me, one of the most interesting and successful segments involves teenagers who are sentenced for miniscule offences (like throwing a piece of steak or making harmless comments on My Space) and are sent to profit-making detention centres by judges who have accepted bribes. These are the kind of revelations that are Moore’s best work; so often the point he is trying to make becomes diluted by theatrics. Inserting ‘poignant’ scenes gratuitously (like the heartbreaking scene of victims of Katrina waiting to be rescued from roof tops) does not always serve his cause well.

The film begins with a warning to anyone with a heart condition to leave the cinema. (Others who should also leave the cinema are those who insist on checking their mobile phones for emails or messages every few minutes. Like the woman sitting next to me at the media screening, who seemed oblivious to the distraction the bright light of her phone was making to those around her – not once, but repeatedly.)

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable:0
Mixed: 1

CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY (M)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Documentary featuring Michael Moore

PRODUCER: Michael Moore, Anne Moore

DIRECTOR: Michael Moore

SCRIPT: Michael Moore

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Marracino, Jayme Roy

EDITOR: Jessica Brunetto, Alex Meillier, Tanya Ager Meillier, Conor O'Neill, Pablo Proenza, Todd Woody Richman, John W. Walter

MUSIC: Jeff Gibbs

PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/a

RUNNING TIME: 126 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 5, 2009







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