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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of GV)

Genre: Documentary
Director: Michael Moore
Cast: Michael Moore
RunTime: 2 hrs 7 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: NC-16 (Mature Content)
Official Website: http://www.capitalismalovestory.com/

Opening Day: 5 November 2009


On the 20-year anniversary of his groundbreaking masterpiece "Roger & Me," Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" comes home to the issue he's been examining throughout his career: the disastrous impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans (and by default, the rest of the world). But this time the culprit is much bigger than General Motors, and the crime scene far wider than Flint, Michigan. From Middle America, to the halls of power in Washington, to the global financial epicenter in Manhattan, Michael Moore will once again take filmgoers into uncharted territory. With both humor and outrage, Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" explores a taboo question: What is the price that America pays for its love of capitalism? Years ago, that love seemed so innocent. Today, however, the American dream is looking more like a nightmare as families pay the price with their jobs, their homes and their savings. Moore takes us into the homes of ordinary people whose lives have been turned upside down; and he goes looking for explanations in Washington, DC and elsewhere. What he finds are the all-too-familiar symptoms of a love affair gone astray: lies, abuse, betrayal... and 14,000 jobs being lost every day. "Capitalism: A Love Story" is both a culmination of Moore's previous works and a look into what a more hopeful future could look like. It is Michael Moore's ultimate quest to answer the question he's posed throughout his illustrious filmmaking career: Who are we and why do we behave the way that we do?

Movie Review:

Michael Moore. Now, where have we heard of this guy before? Oh, back in 2002, documentaries took on a whole radical form when the rolie polie of a filmmaker introduced viewers to his first big hit film Bowling for Columbine. It unveils the ever so perfect veil of America, and explores the roots of the country’s fondness for gun violence. Mind you, this two hour feature went on to win an Oscar for Best Documentary, as well as countless other awards in international film festivals. The Michigan born filmmaker went on to make other expose documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) and Sicko (2007), touching on issues like unjust political policies and the worrying medical system in America.

This guy doesn’t seem to like his country a lot, and in an ironic marketing twist, his latest work is tilted with the word “love”, and from what we see in this 127 minute picture, he still doesn’t like his country a lot. Things haven’t changed much for this prolific director too, and we don’t exactly mean that in a good way.

One can see this film as Moore’s 20th anniversary since his debut work Roger & Me in 1989. While that film looked at how a giant corporation General Motors destroyed happiness in his hometown Flint, Michigan, this one looks at the “oh so worrying” impact of capitalism on his country. He explores the disastrous influence of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of the citizens of the greatest country in the world, American, and naturally, the rest of the people living on this globe. The documentary looks at how the concept of capitalism was first introduced as an economically viable option, but will eventually become the reason for our eventual doom.

Sounds gravely serious? In Moore’s filmmaking world – everything is. And you haven’t gotten used to that? You’d better do if he is going to continue using this approach to relate the pressing issues the world is facing.

What originally turned out amusing eventually became droning as the runtime crept by. Sure, using old film footage is an innovative way of driving your points across to the uninitiated viewer, but overdoing it just takes the freshness out. Having George Bush look like a fool in a puppet sequence? We had seen better. Having commoners relate their miserable lives to the camera while having cutaways of them living in the dumps? That’s almost an exploit on the audience’s emotions. Mr. Moore, what else do you have in your bag of tricks?

Given a rather dry topic like economics, the filmmaker has a difficult task of engaging his viewers with the large amount of technicalities and concepts which may conveniently fly past the unknowing (and often uncaring) audience in the seat. Although he does a commendable job in the initial sections of the film, the ideas gradually became overbearing and self important – that is one sure way of losing your crowd.

The discussions revolving capitalism and its evils (some say that it has its role to play in the running of the society) will go deep and far, and Moore has approached it from a very personally charged level, so much so that it appears rather whiny (take note of how many times his hometown in Michigan is referred to). For viewers who are watching Moore’s films for the first time, it does provide some exciting controversy (“What? I didn’t know the world worked like that?”), while other regular movie goers will only know too well (“Yes, go ahead and make fun of everyone. We know what you are getting at.”)

When you reach the rather wowing but gimmicky finale of the film, you just begin to wonder, isn’t paying money to watch a documentary like this contributing to capitalism too?

Movie Rating:

(Michael Moore’s muckraking approach to making documentaries has gotten too 'smart' for its own good)

Review by John Li


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. Sicko (2007)

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