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Capitalism: A Love Story
(No longer in theaters)
Sep 23, 2009
Say what you will about Michael Moore, he’s a riotously successful left-wing carnival barker in a culture that mostly rewards right-wing carnival barkers. His new circus, Capitalism: A Love Story, is the film he has been building to for two decades: sprawling and scattershot, yet with a cumulative force. Moore’s other films focused on symptoms. This one tackles the disease.
Let’s start with his conclusion: “Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil”—a jaw-dropper given the sorry history of other economic systems. But Moore certainly clinches the case against people who say capitalism and democracy are sibling-close. Jefferson and Adams didn’t think so. Nor did Jesus, whom Moore redubs in an old Bible picture turning away a cripple because of a “pre-existing condition.” Moore relates a half-century of fraud in singsong narration that makes him seem like Mister Rogers with 200 extra pounds and a Che Guevara T-shirt instead of a cardigan. But what a figure he cuts. In the final sequence, he pretends to try to make citizens’ arrests on Wall Street. On one level: groan. On another: No one else seems about to make those arrests. The only thing that would scare Wall Street straight is the image of Michael Moore as the new sheriff in town.