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Michael Moore declares all-out war on capitalism

September 6, 2009 | 12:48 pm

Director Michael Moore now wants nothing less than the complete overthrow of the modern capitalist system.

From Reuters in Venice today:

Capitalism is evil. That is the conclusion U.S. documentary maker Michael Moore comes to in his latest movie "Capitalism: A Love Story," which premieres at the Venice Film Festival Sunday.

Capitalismposter Blending his trademark humor with tragic individual stories, archive footage and publicity stunts, the 55-year-old launches an all-out attack on the capitalist system, arguing that it benefits the rich and condemns millions to poverty.

"Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil," the two-hour movie concludes. "You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that is good for all people and that something is democracy."

Moore’s long-awaited film, which will open in L.A. and New York on Sept. 23 and nationwide on Oct. 2, is in part his post-mortem on the global financial system crash that began a year ago this month with the collapse of brokerage Lehman Bros.

But the film takes on much more than the usual cast of blood-sucking bankers to make the case against capitalism, delving into unrewarded worker productivity, vultures who make their living off foreclosed homes and horror stories from a privately owned juvenile correctional facility in Pennsylvania.

Time magazine’s Mary Corliss writes from Venice:

"Capitalism: A Love Story" does not quite measure up to Moore's "Sicko" in its cumulative power, and it is unlikely to equal "Fahrenheit 9/11" in political impact. In many ways, though, this is Moore's magnum opus: the grandest statement of his career-long belief that big business is screwing the hard-working little guy while government connives in the atrocity.

As he loudly tried to confront General Motors CEO Roger Smith in "Roger & Me" in 1989, and pleaded through a bull horn to get officials at Guantanamo to give medical treatment to surviving victims of "9/11," so in "Capitalism" he attempts to make a citizen's arrest of AIG executives, and puts tape around the New York Stock Exchange building, declaring it a crime scene.

But Corliss also questions whether Moore’s call for a grass-roots revolution can make it past the theater exit door:

At the end Moore says, "I refuse to live in a country like this -- and I'm not leaving." But this call to arms demands more than a ringleader; it requires a ring, an engaged citizenry who are mad enough not to take it any more. That's unlikely to happen. Moore's films are among the top-grossing documentaries in history because they are pertinent populist entertainments. The question remains: Will "Capitalism: A Love Story" rouse the rabble to revolt? Or will audiences sit appreciatively through the movie, then go home and play the cat-in-the-toilet [YouTube] video?

More reviews of the film from Venice screenings are here.

-- Tom Petruno

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