‘Capitalism’ is a thought-provoking film

Scott Viau

One of the most polarizing filmmakers in America today is Michael Moore. Whether you’re first in line for his latest film or won’t even watch it on television, the one thing that cannot be denied is Moore’s ability to raise thought-provoking questions. “Capitalism: A Love Story” is no different and gives us a unique and often chilling look at corporate America.

Using stock footage as rhetoric and interviews with people whose homes have been foreclosed, Moore paints a picture of a crumbling, desperate middle and lower class. Moore also shows us the men who profit from the misfortune of others, who are less than admirable. Throughout the film we’re shown the evil ways of corporations and how the very nature of capitalism seems to inspire greed and a lust for power.

Moore employs his trademark humor, which once again involves watching him get kicked out of every building he attempts to visit. In retaliation for being thrown out, Moore wraps a roll of police tape around an entire building, claiming that it’s a crime scene.

If there’s one scene where I feel Moore crosses the line it would be where he talks to priests who confess that the bible makes no mention of capitalism and that capitalism itself is inherently evil. It’s not their opinion that I find to be too much, but the tactic Moore used to get people to switch to his view. He’s relying on changing the minds of the devout by saying that it is not a sin to be against capitalism. It’s kind of a low move and almost makes Moore look as deceptive as the people he’s trying to blow the whistle on. In all fairness, though, there is a scene that shows Jesus asking for money up front before he heals the sick which is really quite funny.

It’s easy to walk into this movie and see just the two sides of the debate: those who want to make as much money as possible and those who feel it’s better to share the wealth. I like to think there’s a bigger picture here, which is the struggle for economic ethics and the fight to end injustice across the nation. While it’s clear what side of the argument Moore falls on, he also seems to want us, the blue collar people, to band together to fight companies who profit from the death of a worker or to hold banks accountable for their misappropriation of funds.

It’s the scenes with families that have been devastated by rich insurance companies or have been left with almost nothing by Hurricane Katrina that should touch home the most with people viewing this film. While it is indeed tragic seeing these people thrown out of their houses for not being able to pay their bills, I hate to admit that I can understand why it’s happening and tend to blame the homeowners more than the companies who didn’t get paid.

On the other side of things, Moore is able to inspire viewers with a story about the workers at a factory who organized a sit-down strike when it was made known that because of the corporate bailout they would not be able to be paid. The workers eventually received the money they were owed. This is just one story, though, and much more needs to be done to fix these conditions.

Like in most documentaries, Moore does engage in a bit of propaganda. We are only given Moore’s side of the argument, and though it’s probably the correct side, I would like to have a documentary that is relatively fair and balanced.

Overall, we’ve once again received another dose of Moore’s unique brand of storytelling. It raises some interesting questions, but the answers to the problems are still far away and the solution lies within us.