Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Michael Moore


Capitalism is an evil. So declares Michael Moore at the end of his latest film, Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), effectively negating its title. Even after having come to terms with the fact that Moore, as a filmmaker, is incorrigible, that he will use his images to multiply the effect of his voiceover and that he will carry on with his self-pitying, self-congratulatory brand of showmanship and provocation, Capitalism: A Love Story turned out to be a large disappoint for me (For the record, I do think that he had a strike with Bowling for Columbine (2002) and the temperature did soar with Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)). Two facets of this work prove to be the prime nails in its coffin. First of them is Moore’s largely reductive analysis of capitalism. His treatment of religion as a force that is corrupted by capitalism, instead of one that perpetrates it, betrays naïveté, at best, and hypocrisy, at worst. Perhaps, conceiving the project as a mini-series would have helped Moore build a more detailed analysis of the various elements at work. The second: Moore’s temptation for moral simplification. Moore treats all the corporations as a single, monolithic entity driven by profit motive. Instead of illustrating the flaws in the logic of the system, he comfortably resolves its participants into good and evil. Although there may be some truth to that, it is only expected of a film that works on a human level, as Moore’s film most definitely does, to explore the human dimension of both sides and discover where exactly we are going wrong. However, Moore’s film has a lot going for it, especially in the later passages which exude much welcome optimism. Unlike his antiestablishmentarian ancestor Stanley Kubrick (whose Spartacus (1960) is echoed in the opening sequence), Moore is not a cynic by any measure. Fittingly, he tells us: “I refuse to live in a country like this. And I’m not leaving.”