Capitalism: A Love Story

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 March, 2010, 12:00am

Capitalism: A Love Story
Director: Michael Moore

One of the most hilarious sequences in Michael Moore's new film is when he heads down to Wall Street to demand that financial institutions return the money they received from the government-backed bailout to 'the American people'. In scenes that resemble his travails 21 years ago with his debut, Roger and Me, and most of the films he has since worked on, Moore (right) is denied entry by everyone - yet another successful stunt by the documentary-maker to spotlight the greediness of the corporate fat cats on whom he has waged war for the past two decades.

Capitalism: A Love Story was released in 2009, at a time when the greed-is-good ethos that dominated the American consciousness for years was being questioned in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis and congressional approval of financial packages to stop the banks and investment companies from caving in after years of mismanagement. Moore still plays fast and loose with his figures and paints vast brushstrokes but there's no mistaking the urgency and relevance of his message - that the US (and other countries) should wake up from their 'worship [of] self-indulgence and consumption' (as spoken by US president Jimmy Carter in his legendary 'malaise speech' in July 1979, and excerpted in the film).

Covering nearly the entire history of post-war capitalism in the US - from the age of consumption/anxiety in the 1950s, through Ronald Reagan's neo-liberal era to the point when American society stared at the precipice of economic meltdown in the past few years - Moore delivers a witty (such as imagining Jesus' deeds if he was a maximum-profit capitalist) and compelling (videos of people evicted from their homes in foreclosures) overview of the way capitalist doctrines romanced and then ripped people off.

Today, the film is as interesting as it was last year, with Barack Obama's healthcare plans revealing the social schisms established and then consolidated by decades of advocacy of unfettered self-seeking capitalist ideology. And as in Sicko, Moore offers alternatives to the current system, solutions to make sure there are no more crime scenes the filmmaker might need to circle with police lines, as he does at the film's end.

Extras: Eleven more short segments, including How Wall Street Got Away with Murder and What If, Just If, We Had Listened to Jimmy Carter in 1979?; additional interviews.