Director: Michael Moore
Cast: Michael Moore
Watch Capitalism A Love Story online in the UK: Netflix UK / iTunes / TalkTalk TV / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
Years after Roger and Me, Michael Moore returns to the world of corrupt corporate finance. Shambling around the stock exchange in his hat and coat, he’s the people’s Columbo, uncovering the cost of the government’s rescue package for the American economy. Approaching brokers, teachers, priests and people, his question about the financial crisis is simple: “What the hell happened?” Capitalism: A Love Story is anything but.
Not that that’s a surprise. Storming the fort like a crazy lefty, Moore’s scathing wit has never left him. But some of his sense of structure has. Clocking in at two hours, Capitalism covers a dense topic in simplified terms: the world is divided into good, little guys and evil, big guys. The big guys are winning. But to explain his argument with some evidence, he bogs down the film’s first half with figures, flinging financial calculations at us with increasing frustration. It’s a little hard to take in. Again, though, that’s no wonder – out of all the professionals he pesters, not one can explain what a derivative is.
Painting a picture of a pilfering nation, Moore’s righteous rage goes from one villain to the next, before settling on his main enemy: the system itself. Designed to line the pockets of the fat cats and starve the rest of us, capitalism, he argues, is against the constitution and even God. At one point, he finds several clergymen who claim such a thing – although it should be noted they are friends of his.
But for all its slow, deliberate pacing, Capitalism: A Love Story makes a convincing argument. Flicking through a folder of forlorn victims, Moore once again finds the human heart of a wider crisis. A few too many voxpops makes the whole thing a bit muddled, but what they say is undeniably affecting and, when we hear that companies are taking out life insurance on their own employers (known as “Dead Peasants”), genuinely alarming.
Singling out Goldman Sachs as the dominant force in global politics, Moore’s contempt for Wall Street rings loud and clear. But unlike Fahrenheit 9/11, his anger here is better focussed. You can see Moore’s machinations at work, but your mind can’t help but be swayed by the deals that were cut on Capitol Hill for the $7 billion bailout.
The movie is sprinkled with jokes and signature stunts, but Capitalism: A Love Story isn’t quite as neat as Bowling for Columbine. Nonetheless, it’s powerful stuff. You’ll laugh as he tries to make citizen’s arrests of all the major banks. But part of you will want to be out there joining in.
Capitalism: A Love Story is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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