Monday, 7 September 2009

Venice 2009: Capitalism: A Love Story

Another hugely entertaining helping of Michael Moore’s cinematic propaganda (and I say that as a fan), this takes as its central tenet the notion that capitalism is inherently evil and thus should be eradicated.

Ultimately less an attack on capitalism per se, than the banking industry in general and, specifically, the US banks who last year forced through a $700 billion handout from Congress, it features the now standard mix of archive footage and interviews, polemic and pranks, with Moore driving an armoured truck up and down Wall Street asking for the money back, and posting yellow Crime Scene tape around the New York Stock Exchange.

Despite returning to themes familiar from his breakthrough doc Roger & Me, and raking over a topic as fresh in mind as the recent global economic meltdown, Moore constructs a compelling, thought-provoking argument, his contentions as convincing and as effective as ever, despite his tendency to oversimplify. His typically scattershot approach takes in such issues as low pay for US airline pilots; families filmed being evicted their homes; the sub-prime mortgage market; the scourge of Reaganomics; financial deregulation; George W Bush; the undue influence of Goldman Sachs on the US government; before ending on former President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s unrealised call for a second bill of rights which would have, effectively, ushered in a socialist state.

Sometimes crude, sometimes sentimental but always the master manipulator, Moore makes his case with great passion and persuasion. The film ends with a rallying cry to the working man, calling upon him to rise up against the wealthy. It’s a worthy sentiment, although one suspects the film might well be another case of preaching to the converted. But at least in Barack Obama, Moore’s finally got an American President he believes in.

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