Wednesday, 3 March 2010

REVIEW: Capitalism: A Love Story

So Michael Moore doesn't seem to have the same pull as he used to does he? Capitalism: A Love Story managed to pull only 5 screens across the entirety of London, and four of those were indie cinemas, so its safe to say Moore isn't going to be blowing the same amount of complacent minds as he once does. Did we tire of his smugness, or his methods? Or are his movies just getting worse? Well, while its undeniable that Moore loves getting up on his soapbox so he can shout it, it doesn't necessarily mean that he's wrong, or that it is any less revelatory.

I'm a liberal, don't get me wrong, but I tire of my ideological kin sometimes. With Moore, it is us, who all think that he is right, that have fucked him over. We don't like that he's abrupt, we don't like his directness, or lack of nuance. And for the liberal media, this matters more then you can know. It doesn't matter that he's pretty much the only prominent liberal film-maker that people actually listen to, or that F911 aside, all his subject matter is pressingly important. No. To us, it is worth our message not getting told at all if it is not told the right way. And while this gives us a lovely sense of superiority, it is not hard to see why liberals have a very insignificant voice in worldwide politics. Its almost as if the intellectual left don't want their ideas to break out into mass consumption, and to be honest this makes us into the elitist caricatures that the right say we are. The ridiculous thing is that liberal ideas are based almost entirely on common sense decency, and yet we have made these ideals somehow unappealing.

Look I'm a critic and if you ask me if Moore is as good as a film-maker as Errol Morris or Alex Gibney, I'm going to say of course not, are you crazy, and in sixty years his films probably won't matter a damn. But right now he's more important then either of them, because for the passionate telling of the right now, there's no-one better. In capitalism, as with all of his films, he doesn't present an argument, more a point of view. And capitalism is certainly a fine target for demolition, a system where greed and selfishness is not only practiced but also claims to be moral and just. Moore has not lost his ability to hone down on the truly shocking, and there is plenty of that here. From Juvenile 'delinquents' receiving grossly exaggerated sentences in order to keep privately owned facilities ticking over, to Pilot's receiving less annual pay than manager's at McDonald's. Its prescient film-making in an era where criticizing the great American ideology is almost an executable offense.

The film bluntly and brutally makes its point, and while I could have perhaps done without Moore's stunt on Wall street, which seemed to cheapen the whole thing, its nonetheless a voice worth listening to, even if he's not choosing the words we'd like him to.

Rating: 8/10

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