- Running time:
- 127 minutes
- Jimmy Carter -
- John McCain -
- Thora Birch -
- William Black -
- Elijah Cummings -
The latest from controversial filmmaker Michael Moore takes on the capitalist system in the U.S.A. He sets out to demonstrate that capitalism has overtaken democracy as the country’s predominant system of rule: large corporations and a slim percentage of extremely wealthy individuals dominate, valuing short-term profits over a sustainable standard of living for the working classes.
The buzz: Reactions to Michael Moore films tend to align with opinions of Michael Moore himself—partly because he’s usually front and center on screen, but also because he’s become synonymous with journalistically suspect, yet entertaining and wildly successful, documentary films. Moore often catches flack for playing to his base without much sophistication, but if the goal of documentary (or any filmmaking) is to connect with an audience, he delivers. The potentially bad news for “Capitalism”: Moore tends to deliver that connection a little less when the subject matter is depressing (as with “Sicko”) instead of cathartic (as with “Fahrenheit 9/11”).
The verdict: To say that Moore occasionally fudges facts to make a point, is frequently guilty of hypocrisy, and doesn’t reach out to opposing points of view to make his polemics more challenging and any less…polemical…is now as obvious as saying Brad Pitt is handsome, Meryl Streep is talented or Michael Bay makes crap. What’s different in “Capitalism” is the way Moore actively appeals to gun-toting, God-fearing Americans, with religion playing an especially vital role in the film’s one-sided debate (Moore interviews multiple Catholic priests who condemn capitalism as evil and insist Jesus Christ would live outside the system). “Capitalism” also sees Moore working on his broadest canvas to date. Subject matter varies from the Congressional bank bailouts, to home foreclosures, to “dead peasant” insurance policies, to poorly compensated airline pilots, to a horrifying for-profit juvenile detention facility in Pennsylvania. And that’s just skimming the surface. “Capitalism” tends to feel like 20 documentaries stuffed into one, but each new avenue opens a door to important topics for the audience to discover and discuss long after the movie ends. Moore hasn’t made a measured film because he’s not looking for a measured response. He wants to get his viewers outraged and shake them out of their complacency. You may not always love his tactics, but his intentions are near impeccable.
Did you know? You can check out one of the film’s most fascinating tangents here. It’s a report from Citigroup researchers on how the U.S.A., U.K., Canada and Australia are becoming “plutonomies” (economies where only the actions of the wealthiest individuals actually matter).
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