Before I begin deconstructing this Blu-ray, let me say that it is very well put together. Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Michael Moore knows how to make documentaries. He employs a strong narrative, makes use of compelling video footage and music, and manages to inject just the right amount of humor. You would think, then, that this would be slam-dunk for Moore, but, like his other documentaries, he gets too much in the way of his message.
With Moore, I always find myself in the odd position where I generally agree with what he’s saying, but I get so annoyed with the way he presents himself and his argument that I almost want to disagree out of spite. He’s too sarcastic, and his stunts, like cordoning off Meryll Lynch’s headquarters with police tape, are too gimmicky to really be effective in making his point. Moore comes off so sarcastically and arrogantly that he almost seems like a parody of the concerned liberal I’m sure he is, and it makes him seem almost disingenuous.
I also have trouble with some of the connections he makes in Capitalism. For example, the documentary begins with footage from an old documentary on the Roman Empire, specifically its decadence and the political corruption that lead to its downfall. Interspersed with this footage are images from our own political system, making the already obvious connections Moore’s making ridiculously over the top. This is not a particularly new comparison, but it’s also not particularly accurate, either. On the surface, Rome and the United States seem very much alike, but to infer from that that this country will fall in the same way and for the same reasons is an intuitive leap that doesn’t really work. The global nature of our economy alone changes our situation drastically.
And then there are the connections he makes to the Reagan administration. In a visually compelling segment, Moore charts the rise in depression and general dissatisfaction Americans felt with their standard of living against some of Reagan’s policies. Again, the implications he’s making are obvious, but I’m not quite ready to drink the Kool-Aid yet.
This attack on Reagan is one half of Moore’s two-pronged attack on Capitalism, the other being on Christianity. In terms of targets, Moore picks very well given that Reagan and Jesus are the two pillars of the modern Capitalist movement, but again, Moore takes it a little too far—in this case by having priests from his hometown of Flint, Michigan say that Jesus would think that Capitalism was evil. I tend to have a hard time with people interpreting what Jesus would think about this or that, especially when it comes to systems or ideas that didn’t exist during his time, so having these priests speculate on what Jesus would think really doesn’t make for a compelling argument for me, and given the fanaticism of the Conservative Christians that truly believe that Jesus was a Capitalist, I doubt it would convince them either.
Capitalism: A Love Story is a film made by a liberal for liberals. It’s an extended bitch fest that does not offer a solution to the problem other than people need to come around to the realization that Capitalism=bad and Democracy=good. Like I said earlier, I agree with his sentiments, but I dislike his argument, not matter how well he presents it. Just so you understand where I’m coming from, I’m probably pretty liberal when it comes to my political views: I support gays in the military, social programs, and taxes provided that I actually get something for my money. You’d think that I’d be the perfect audience for Moore, but, honestly, I find him about as annoying as Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly: he’s a caricature, and his point of view is too extreme and unrelenting to be any to be of use for any kind of effective social change. I can’t fault his talent, but I can his extremism.
The documentary is presented in Widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio with the audio in Dolby TruHD 5.1. English and Spanish subtitles are provided.
There are enough extra features on this Blu-ray to choke a goat, and instead of going through them one by one, I’ll treat them as a whole. In general, the extras are quite good, but I have to say that there is so much here that it can get a bit overwhelming at the time. Once I reached the feature on Chris Hedges, I was ready for it to be over. I wouldn’t recommend watching these all in one sitting. Also, I find it very odd that there is a digital copy provided. I just can’t see a time when I want to watch this on my Zune when I’m out and about.
Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren On How Wall Street Got Away With Murder Sorry, House Flippers and Banks—You’re Toast in Flint, MI Congressman Cummings Dares to Speak the Unspeakable The Ominvore’s Dilemma? It’s Capitalism The Rich Don’t Go to Heaven (There’s a Special Place Reserved for Them!) How to Run the Place Where you Work Commie Taxi Drivers—“You Talkin’ to Me?”—In Wisconsin What If, Just If, We Had Listened to Carter in 1979? The Socialist Bank of—North Dakota? The Banks Kick Them Out, Max Kicks Them Back In NY Times Pulitzer Prize Winner Chris Hedges on the Killing Machine Known as Capitalism Digital Copy of Capitalism: A Love Story
Likely if you’re reading this, you’re already a fan of Michael Moore. He seems to be one of those polarizing figures that you either love or hate. I don’t hate him, but I also don’t particularly like him. This documentary earns fairly high scores just on sheer artistry, but not much else. My opinion probably isn’t going to sway you if you’re already a fan, but if you’re one of the few that’s one the fence, I’d skip this one, or at least watch it with a grain of salt.
Overture Films presents Capitalism: A Love Story . Directed by: Michael Moore. Starring: Michael Moore. Written by: Michael Moore. Running time: 127 Minutes. Rating: R. Released on DVD: March 9, 2010. Available at Amazon.com