The surprise film at the London Film Festival, and it was a surprise indeed. I was hoping for Where The Wild Things Are, what we got instead was Capitalism: A Love Story, the latest from Michael Moore. A film I had no plan in seeing (I liked TV Nation and Bowling for Columbine though), so that was a disappointment, but the film itself was exactly what I expected.
So, Mr. Moore sets his sights on the recent banking crisis, drawing a lot of it back to Roger & Me, Flint, Michigan and his personal life. It does indeed highlight some pretty shocking examples of dirty greedy policies in play and the central message of “big over-the-top spending = boo, power to the people = yay” is hard to quibble with. And after an exciting rip-roaring opening (the warning message from the trailer for Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast, interspersed with CCTV of bank heists to the tune of Iggy Pop’s cover of “Louie Louie”), you’d expect a big boistrous barnstorm rallying against the powers that be. However, it’s mainly a grab-bag selection of sob stories (difficult situations for ordinary people, sure, but enough zooming into crying eyes) and show-boating stunts and skits that are as obvious as they are unfunny. A damp smug squib then, rather than the fireworks one would expect from Moore firing on all cylinders against the government leaders and the big banks who line their pockets.
In fact, Moore really doesn’t do enough to demonstrate how wrong the previous banking practices were, so we’re only really left with scattershot human interest tales rather than a proper attack with cold hard facts and figures. There are answers and ideas within, and it’s more mature and balanced than Farenheit 9/11, but Moore’s schtick is getting old – toothless and prone to foggy thinking.