Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Movie Review: Capitalism: A Love Story.

If this movie were a newspaper article, it would be an obituary.

If a song, a funeral dirge.

It's a requiem for the American dream.

Unlike prior Michael Moore offerings (all of which I've seen), most notably Roger & Me, Moore almost entirely abandons his technique of marrying comedy with tragedy. It's all tragic here.

Gone too are any semblances of subtlety. At the end, Moore pronounces capitalism as evil and calls for its eradication. In making this moralistic judgment, this movie is Moore's most religious. He features interviews with Catholic priests--who share his view about capitalism's immorality, and splices is scenes from the film Jesus of Nazareth. The movie even ends with Woody Guthrie's song, "Jesus Christ".

Given the few people in the theater at my screening, and its tepid box-office, it appears that the American public isn't in the mood for this. That's a shame because Moore does put his finger on issues that need to be critically thought-through, and he does uncover some outright outrages. For example, ever hear of dead-peasant insurance? Unfortunately, this is not the vehicle, especially since it stacks the deck through omissions of critical data. To hear Moore tell it, the "bailouts" simply gave away money. That's not quite the case. Loans and equity positions are not equatable with gifts.

Moore has been getting darker and darker in his movies--moving in progression from Roger & Me through his last before Capitalism, Sicko. I think he might draw in more people, and actually persuade more, through a less heavy hand. Hopefully he will rediscover his genius.

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