Directed by Michael Moore
Appearances by Congressman Elijah Cummings, Thora Birch, Baron Hill, Marcy Kaptur
“To know the true reality of yourself, you must be aware not only of your conscious thoughts, but also of your unconscious prejudices, bias and habits.”
Being not only a film critic, but a documentary filmmaker myself, reviewing the films of Michael Moore present a quandary. As a documentary filmmaker, I am not a fan of the filmmaker constantly putting themselves in their films and letting their own egos rule over the content of the film. I also hold the same opinion as many other documentary filmmakers: Moore doesn’t make documentary films; he makes opinion/editorial films. So, I have to separate my personal preferences as a filmmaker and just look at his films for their informational and entertainment value. How does this film stack up?
Capitalism: A Love Story focuses on the current financial crisis and the recovery stimulus, while putting forward an indictment of the current economic order in the United States and capitalism in general.
Michael Moore focuses his attention on what he calls Wall Street’s “casino mentality”, for-profit prisons, Goldman Sachs’ influence in Washington, DC, the poverty-level wages of many airline pilots, the large wave of home foreclosures, and the consequences of what he calls “runaway greed”.
Moore also goes way out on a limb and tries to examine whether or not capitalism is a sin and if Jesus would be a capitalist and in support of how we our governed.
He also explores “dead peasant insurance”. Basically, the practice of “dead peasant insurance” is where a corporation takes out life insurance policies on employees that are in failing health and name themselves as a beneficiary. When the employee dies, the corporation benefits and does not owe any money to the grieving family.
He interviews a family that experienced this first hand and it is terrible that the company benefited while the family was struggling to pay for hospital and funeral costs. Regardless of your feelings about capitalism or about Moore in general, this story was emotional.
It is said about Michael Moore and his films that he preaches to the choir, never gaining new fans, just merely pontificating to his fanboys and fangirls. And, I don’t think this is the film where that will change your opinion of how he believes or how he constructs a film.
Capitalism: A Love Story is more of the same from Michael Moore. If you love him, then you will continue to do so. If you don’t agree with his sometimes unethical way of presenting facts and interviews, this won’t change your mind either.
While I found the interview with the family that was a victim of “dead peasant insurance” intriguing, I found a lot of what Moore presents here fool hearted, poorly researched and presented with the same over the top arrogance he is known for. What a relief it would be if he would just let his subjects that are interviewed speak without constant cuts to vintage footage to make his “ironic” points.
But, this is the “Moore” style and while I don’t agree with the manner in which he researches and presents his version of the documentary film, I feel that he, as well as any other filmmaker, has the right to make their films and find audiences for them.
So, you know which of you out there are going to love this one or which ones will hate it. And, unlike Moore, I am secure enough in my own opinions that I enjoy having a debate on many issues, one of which is the score I am giving this film. So, faithful readers, shoot me an email.
The number below is based purely on the execution and style of the film, not whether I agree with how Moore feels about this subject or any other. See, that is called being objective….wonder if Moore knows anything about that word….
Capitalism: A Love Story is anamorphic widescreen. The vintage footage is in varying degrees of quality but the new sequences shot have a vibrant quality and the overall transfer is respectable. I did not notice any instances of grain or artifacts.
Capitalism: A Love Story is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with some of the vintage footage employing a mono mix. I did not notice any instances of balance problems and all dialogue was clear and easily understood.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Capitalism: A Love Story is presented in a standard Blu Ray amaray case with subdued artwork on the cover.
The bonus features offered in this release are over 80 minutes of outtakes with the following titles: You’re Toast in Flint, MI, Congressman Cummings Dare to Speak the Unspeakable, The Omnivore’s Dilemma? It’s Capitalism, How to Run the Place Where you Work, The Rich Don’t Go to Heaven, Commie Taxi Drivers, What If we had listened to Jimmy Carter in 1979?, The Socialist Bank of North Dakota, The Banks Kick them Olut, Max Kicks Them Back In, NY Times Winner Chris Hedges on the Killing Machine Known as Capitalism.
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10
The Movie 4/10
The Video 5/10
The Audio 5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 6/10
Overall (not an average) 5/10