Among all of the filmmakers out there in the world today, it's hard to find one who gets as much attention as Michael Moore (although, Roman Polanski did find a way to steal some headlines this week). I love a rabble rouser, so the publicity stunts and promotional avalanche don't bother me too much. Plus, you have to admit, when Moore releases a movie, it's an event with the ability to start a debate about our country, who we are and what we value, which is the whole point of Capitalism: A Love Story. In his latest diatribe (and I say that with love), Moore attacks America's fascination with capitalism and the results of economic policies that stretch back to the beginning of time. Most of all, he points a spotlight on corporations and CEOs who are taking advantage of employees and customers, showing little regard for right and wrong and generating profits without a conscience.
Capitalism: A Love Story showcases Moore's biggest strengths as a moviemaker and provocateur as he holds up a mirror to society and repulses the audience by showcasing the craven actions of public officials, private companies and some of the biggest names in business (yet, no Donald Trump nor Daniel Snyder appearances in this movie). He's effective at horrifying the audience by pointing out the underbelly of the economic system and abhorrent acts that will cause you to march out of the theater looking to beat up a CEO.
Eventually, Moore gets to the economic collapse that has effected all of us, and it's a perfect scenario for him as he turns the whole situation into a conspiracy thriller as he tries to show the "evil" forces quietly pulling all of the strings to pass the bailout with little congressional input and investigation. Yet, Capitalism: A Love Story is missing a call to action, which is so important in an activist movie like this one.
Yes, Moore is extremely entertaining, and brings a populist edge that has undeniable attraction, but, even though he slightly hints at what regular people can do to improve the problem he presents, Capitalism: A Love Story is screaming out for more direction. Present a solution!
Also, Moore avoids the bigger question. Doesn't evil and corruption also exist in socialism, utopianism, communism and more? Is it capitalism that drives the despicable behavior shown in this movie, or is it human nature? I'm sure the Michael Moore of the former Soviet Union could show us examples of corruption and evil in communist society, so it's hard to believe Gordon Gekko only exists in the USA.
Moore knows how to get your blood boiling, and has a flair for the dramatic that draws in the audience, but not all of the stories he tells fit in the same movie and within the same theme, so Capitalism: A Love Story, essentially, is a series of stories without resolution.
2 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)
Capitalism: A Love Story is rated R for some language.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times