Monday, November 2, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story

Michael Moore’s latest rant-cum-documentary has Washington squarely in its sights. Surely it was only a matter of time before the agent-provocateur filmmaker produced his missive on America’s sub-prime catastrophe and the compounding global financial crisis. Moore, however, is not content to merely rail against the divide between rich and poor and the injustices levelling the American working class, instead he wants to strike a mortal blow to the capitalist system.

As ever, Moore grounds his story in the working class; juxtaposing those American battlers worst hit by the crisis with the big banks coming cup-in-hand to Washington to receive the 700+ billion dollar bail out. It’s a powerful, incensing comparison, one compounded by shocking stories of real-estate 'vultures’, ‘dead peasant’ corporate insurance policies, juvenile ‘delinquents’ feathering the nests of privately run detention centres and the abysmal pay of airline pilots (earning less than a manager at Taco Bell).

Shock and disgust are no doubt Moore’s motives here. His methods aren’t always sensitive, but his stunts are certainly sensational. Citizens’ arrests, crime-scene tape and an armoured car all feature to humourous and pointed effect. His religious overtures, however, are rather problematic. As in every battle, it’s best to have God on your side, but Moore’s continuous religious appeals come across as his most manipulative stunt yet.

More successful is the inclusion of the striking workers at Republic Windows and Doors. “Republic cares nothing for us,” says one tearful employee; a truth as seemingly evident of the US Government as it is their bankrupted company. Indeed, the Congressional conspiracy theories, back room deals and the history of Roosevelt’s unfulfilled second Bill of Rights are similarly eye opening.

So while Moore’s tactics are a bit hit and miss, and may ultimately prove too shrill to be convincing, his treatise does make one point abundantly clear:

Capitalism is not the Messiah; he’s a very naughty boy.

Check the Australian flag!

Published on Concrete Playground.
Australian release date: 5 November 2009

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