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With: Michael Moore, Wallace Shawn
Written by: Michael Moore
Directed by: Michael Moore
MPAA Rating: R for some language
Running Time: 120
Date: 09/06/2009

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Absolute Corruption

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Michael Moore does it again, with another exceptional piece of propaganda, designed to get you riled up, but also to get you to laugh. This one plays like a direct sequel to Roger & Me, which just turned 20 years of age.

Capitalism: A Love Story takes on the system of capitalism in the United States, which -- according to Moore -- seemed to work great during the 1950s, but started to crumble during the Reagan years and then fell apart during the George W. Bush years (Moore doesn't talk about the Clinton years). Essentially, these presidents allowed corporations access to political power, and the corporations in turn used that power to eliminate the system of checks and balances that kept things from spinning out of control. Several people grew filthy rich, while the majority of Americans grew poorer.

Moore deliberately avoids advocating Communism as a replacement, and instead talks up the original idea of Democracy. He cites two successful companies that are worker-owned and operated, and each worker earns a very nice salary. He talks at length about the Chicago workers of Republic Windows & Doors who were laid off without their severance pay; they occupied the factory and attracted enough media attention (including a "thumbs up" from Barack Obama) that the bank finally gave in to their demands.

But the most interesting piece comes from a mid-1940s state of the union address by Franklin Roosevelt, proposing a second bill of rights that would guarantee Americans the right to work, the right to a pension, the right to health care, and various other things that we very simply do not have. Roosevelt died before the plan could go any further, but -- strangely enough -- after WWII, former members Roosevelt's cabinet implemented these same plans in Germany, Italy and Japan.

Thankfully, Moore's on-camera stunts are kept to a minimum, and even he seems to have grown tired of them. As ever, the people who need to see this most will probably avoid it, but those that will see it won't soon forget it.

DVD/Blu-Ray Details: The 2010 DVD and Blu-Ray from Anchor Bay comes with ten little featurettes, each of which plays like a deleted scene, or a mini-documentary on the same theme. Some of these are rather hopeful little follow-ups to the feature. Chris Hedges is featured in one segment. Another segment features a fascinating, foreboding speech by Jimmy Carter. Yet another one features Michael Pollan, who was also in Food, Inc. The Blu-Ray features all the same extras, but also comes with a bonus disc containing a digital copy of the movie.

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