If there is anything to be said about Michael Moore is that he makes you think and entertains you while doing so.
Such is the case with his latest film, "Capitalism, A Love Story." The former Mother Jones writer who made his name 20 years ago with "Roger & Me," now explores Capitalism, a reactionary documenting of how did we get into this financial mess and who's to blame - something that has been on a lot of people's minds lately.
Unlike most news articles or TV journalism (sorry to say) Moore uses his world-wide format to explain the roots of the matter. Greed and fear are often unearthed as the culprits in his documentaries. And "Capitalism" is no different, this time shining the light on all the unseemliness of greed and how, once again, corporate America has screwed the people yet again. But he goes even deeper than greed and asks us to shake off the manacles the propaganda machines have placed on us (even while you're quite aware that the movie before you is a form of propaganda). He wants us to imagine, a la John Lennon, a world living life in peace, a life where you are judged by your actions, not by the speedboat you purchased this summer.
The 'what if' is illustrated with heart-wrenching examples, pathetically laden with maudlin music, of home owners getting evicted, entire communities turned into ghost towns and workers unduly thrown out into the street. Moore also turns over a rock exposing an especially sinister move businesses are performing on unsuspecting employees. Moore is so good at touching nerves that if you're an employee of a corporation, such as CitiBank, you'll want to revolt against the corporation. And if you're the CEO of a corporation, such as CitiBank, you'll want to put a gag order on Michael Moore.
Moore also explores the collapse of the housing market and how corporations have been holding the government hostage with bailout requests, and how even government leaders supposedly on the average person's side, is really on the take.
On the flipside, he points the camera at people who have successfully fought injustice and have created a business model that is treating people fairly and which is making money, too. A novel concept.
Moore's flaw though is that he doesn't give the other side its say so. He points out that Henry Paulson the former Treasury Secretary and before that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, essentially bilked the American people out of billions of dollars. But no one in Paulson's camp is given the chance to refute the claim. That and the happy and sappy music throughout the movie to exclamate his points take away credibility. Then again, when Moore does try to talk to these heinous people, bouncers in blazers block his way and treat him like a like a cockroach.
With an Oscar in his back pocket, Moore is now treading dangerously close to caricature. But no matter what your stand is politically, Michael Moore will make you think.
Capitalism: A Love Story opens nationwide on Friday, Oct. 2.