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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Politics > Finance > White Collar Crime > History > Capitalism: A Love Story (2009/Overture/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009/Overture/Anchor Bay Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: B-/C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: B     Film: B+



Who is afraid of Michael Moore?  Since he released Roger & Me in 1989, he has been a controversial figure.  His humor has allowed his opponents in Corporate America and Neo-Conservatives to more easily attack him and his own financial success has made it hard to argue against financial success.  Moore has not always been good at rectifying what seems contradictory, yet his films are more accurate about what they cover than not, but Capitalism: A Love Story (2009) is his boldest film yet and that is why you may not have heard of it.


For one thing, the election of President Obama hurt its box office a bit, but what is different about it from his previous works is that he is less comical and more personal than ever.  There is a more serious message here than even in his past works and on a personal side, he not only reconfirms he was Catholic, but places himself explicitly with the Religious Left in a way he never did before.


Many have been conned not to even begin to listen to him, in part so they do not have to be challenged on anything or even have to think, but ignorance is bliss.  It is also amazing how confident people are in what they know when they don’t know as much as they think.  Moore cannot be blamed for this, as this was a preexisting condition that made the Reagan Presidency and Era possible.


The film offers as much censored material as anything Moore has ever made, which is reason enough to see it, even if you can’t stand the man.  However, the film continues his point that no matter what the system, raping and pillaging the wealth of a nation is immoral and totally unacceptable.  All his films are about this, but he goes further than ever talking about this aspect and in some cases, I wondered what he was waiting for and why some of these points were not in his previous films.


After a satirical prologue comparing the rotten side of America to the fall of Rome, he covers home foreclosures that have become reinforced in near-military fashion in ways they never were before, which leads to his discussion of the housing scandal, which leads to some ugly cases of injustice in the name of high profits (a private detention scandal, air pilots being shafted with the rest of the nation, blue chip companies buying life insurance policies on employees secretly so they can make money on them if they die!) and leads us down to a few weeks before the 2008 Election where Wall Street got $70 Billion whether there was really a crisis or not.


The argument the film makes is that Capitalism is like Child Labor, an evil that can never be regulated and should not exist; one that allows people with money to do anything (even when people get hurt or killed as a result) they want and suffer no penalty whatsoever.  Instead of calling such Corporatism Fascism (the former name is the original version of the latter, as defined by Mussolini) or suggesting the U.S. should be a Communist country, he instead argues that the reason Capitalism has been so destructive since the 1980s is in corporations via the Reagan Era and Reaganomics have been annihilating our manufacturing infrastructure to kill the middle class, kill living wages and kill democracy.


No matter what his labels, there is no doubt democracy has been slowly rotted and fractured since the 1980s, but that conditions are so bad that the recent financial collapse means “the end of Capitalism as we know it” as he has said.  That the abuses are in the absence of true representation of the voting people, too few of whom have voted until recently.  I will not give away any more and some of this you have to see to believe in must-see ways.


Though I know I was being manipulated at times (choices of music, editing juxtapositions), that does not change how accurate he is about history or what has happened.  Best of all is a film of one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s speeches, which seems to have been conveniently ignored and censored for decades, uncovered here in what is the most important moment in the film.  It epitomizes the one dichotomy that the film inarguably offers: a healthy democratic by the people/of the people/for the people democracy ala FDR vs. an unhealthy anti-democratic big money version of America that is not the America that made the country great to begin with and will not help it in the long term.


In that, Capitalism: A Love Story is a bold and challenging enough work that everyone should see above just about anything else Moore has ever done.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image has some motion blur, but also some very solid shots, though Moore has to use various sources and some of them are either analog video or low-def digital video, but it is masterfully edited and looks better overall than the still-decent, anamorphically enhanced DVD.  The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless mix is a mix on the Blu-ray has its moments of audio dropout and monophonic archival materials, but is in pretty good shape considering the nature of documentary sound.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a little weaker on the DVD and not as warm, but is still good considering old Dolby’s limits.


Extras include Digital Copy for PC & PC portable devices and Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren on how Wall Street Got Away With Murder, while both editions feature a teaser and trailer for the film, plus 10 featurettes that cover co-op business thriving, people standing up for the vulnerable, scholars explaining how bad things are and how they got that way and the full 1979 speech President Carter gave that likely threw Oil Companies and Conservatives nuts all running over 80 minutes total.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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