Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Movie with Abe: Capitalism: A Love Story

Capitalism: A Love Story
Directed by Michael Moore
Released September 25, 2009

Whenever Michael Moore finds a subject he wants to tackle, he goes for broke. In recent years, he’s looked at guns (“Bowling for Columbine”), September 11th (“Fahrenheit 9/11”), and the health care industry (“Sicko”). Now he’s examining the economy and the rather depressing state in which we find ourselves at this current time. When he takes aim at something or someone, he really sets out to take his target down. His critique of the economy is certainly valid, but it’s much more about pointing out that there’s a problem that exists and less about providing any sort of tangible potential solution. That’s not always the point for Moore, but this entry isn’t nearly as entertaining as his past offerings and takes far too long to really get going, only getting really interesting after an excess of less engaging material has been presented.

It’s perhaps the focus that initially diminishes the impact of Moore’s latest effort. Diagnosing America’s love affair with capitalism is a broad subject, and the lack of a specific target gives Moore too much ammunition and no one specific place to aim it. His vignettes include a smattering of major news items from the past few years, most notably airplane mishaps in the Hudson River and Buffalo, which Moore attributes to the improper structuring of the economic system. It’s not quite as scathing as some of Moore’s past productions, and there’s a lull in the middle where it seems like he’s on the verge of some monumental revelation, but he’s never quite going to get there.

The movie runs slightly over two hours, and it’s only well into the second hour that the film really gets going. Once that happens, the most poignant moments, as well as the more outwardly humorous scenes featured in the film’s excellent trailer, are presented and the film really gains its dramatic edge. Half powerful is far better than not powerful at all, but it lessens the shock factor and effect of Moore’s clearly extensive research and findings. For a while, however, it seems as if he’s either toned down his investigative reporting for fear of being censored by the very people whose corrupt ways he seeks to expose, or become lazy in his intrepid quest to cause trouble.

Luckily, it becomes clear that that’s not the case at all. Just as his material seems like it’s not compelling or convincing enough, Moore revealed his hand, showing that his most powerful arguments have been saved for last. By the end of the film, Moore has made a moving case for change. He even seems to see potential in a man who works out of the White House. Moore, however pushy and offensive he may try to be, is still a master of montage. His connections and insinuations may seem outlandish and at times may even be exaggerated to the point of falsity, but ultimately he really knows what he’s doing and he’s still a force with which to be reckoned. If he sees a story he thinks needs to be told, he’s going to tell it, and he’ll do it in style. It may not be one hundred percent rock-solid, but it still packs one hell of a punch.


Watch the Minute with Abe here.

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