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Monday, October 12, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) Documentary

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)- Michael Moore is a fine filmmaker, he knows how to draw a story and make a point. He is far from the "Cinema Verite" style documentary film makers ascribe to and instead is forceful with elaborate antics to get his points across. He is not a traditionalist when it comes to form, Moore does document what he sees going on and does this pointedly in Capitalism :A Love Story. Starting with a comparison to the pre-collapse Roman empire with the current United States, he points out the excesses of then to the conditions of now in a humorous cross cutting ploy that starts his film off in chosen direction. Seeing the United States as country drunk on power and collapsing from the inside with corruption.
Moore tries to tap into the popularist anger that comes with the collapse of our economy and focuses on some of the more underhanded as well as over the top schemes companies in this country are pulling. He show the connecting lines between the top politicians who write financial regulations to the very banks they are supposed to be regulating. He looks at how the people put in charge of running our economy are the very same who caused the meltdown we are still suffering through (Robert Rubin, Henry Paulsen, Lawrence Summers, Timothy Geithner). These Goldman Sach's former leaders are now administering the economy and Goldman's is benefiting more than most.
Although Moore doesn't make the connection we can see how Niomi Kline's theory of Shock Doctrine may be at work. Looking particularly bad is Senator Chris Dodd democrat of CT, after receiving sweet deals $1,175,133 on loans from the very banks, Countrywide he helped.
The movie looks at companies in our free market economy have so corrupted the system that it can no longer be trusted. Like the companies that without letting their employees know take out life insurance policies on them. They call the policies "Dead Peasants" policies. Unfortunately the company is the beneficiary not the family of the employee. Moore names companies and shows the opinions of surviving family members when they learn the companies profited from the death of their loved ones. Walmart in particular looks bad in this section with many of the deceased employees families not being able to afford burial while Walmart collects secret insurance money.
Another example of how privatizing harms us at a Pennsylvania detention center that paid off judges to send kids to it. The judges took hundreds of thousands of dollars and sent kids to detention for minor offenses.
At his best Moore paints the plight of the average man caught up in a system he has no control over. There are interviews with regular folk to show just this. He explores how after we save industry from itself with tax dollars how cold and heartless it can be to regular Americans. Moore does rely on antics that take away some of the seriousness of his subject. He tries to do citizen arrest on Wall St. He tapes off the area with crime scene tape. He does a bit with Jesus(from movie clips) disagreeing with capitalism. They are distraction he does not really need in this film.

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