Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
100 Greatest Characters
Your all-time favourite heroes and villains
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Empire Blogs
Cannes Film Festival

Back to all blogs Comment Now

Venice 09: Capitalism, A Love Story

Posted on Sunday September 6, 2009, 10:07 by Damon Wise in Cannes Film Festival
Venice 09: Capitalism, A Love Story

Michael Moore arrived in Venice fresh from the edit suite with a film so new, it features footage shot in early 2009. Pre-publicity for the film was sketchy, but the title alone – Capitalism, A Love Story – was a bit of a giveaway. Much more like his breakout hit Bowling For Columbine than the recent health-industry expose Sicko, it is arguably his best since Fahrenheit 911 and, although flawed, it's quite a worthy successor. It's highly possible that Moore may revisit the film after the reviews he reads in the next few days, so some of these flaws may not make the release version, but on the evidence of the festival cut, Moore may have another hit on his hands. Not on the scale of F911 but better than any documentary about the recent financial crisis could ever expect to be.

It begins with a warning, lifted from the 60s drive-in horror flick Blood Feast, warning the young and the easily upset to leave the cinema. Then Moore really sinks his teeth in: the credits roll over a montage of bank robberies, one felon pausing to kiss his ill-gotten gains as the title card fills the screen and Iggy Pop's version of Louie Louie blares over the sound system. It's very representative of the film; loose, irreverent and, surprisingly, not as hectoring as you might expect. The first half, however, is the weakest, and the film takes a surprising while to get going after such an energetic start. It begins with a family being evicted from their home, and after some protracted footage of people sobbing and police officers looking fat and grim, Moore announces his intention: to find out how things got so bad in America. The problem, he claims, started with Reagan, the first modern president to forge direct links between government and commerce. And as America embraced hardcore free enterprise, Moore reasons, America enjoyed short-term profit and long-term depression, losing its status in the world market as the countries it bombed into redundancy during World War Two rebuilt their factories and gradually returned to the trading table, stronger than ever before. Moore goes so far as to compare the effect on modern-day America to the events preceding the fall of the Roman Empire, and it's not hard to see his point.

It takes a while for the film's trajectory to suggest itself, since Moore begins by assembling case studies of bad capitalism, in particular a privatised jail service that routinely sent innocent teens to lock-up just to keep business booming. He also reveals that the average airline pilot is paid less than the manager of the average Taco Bell. But it's in the second half where the good stuff lies, and Moore – with admirable efficiency – paints a very clear picture of what happened last year when the gravy train ran out, Congress was hijacked, and billions of US taxpayers' dollars were paid to settle the debts of mavericks who, since the deregulation of Wall Street, had been effectively involved in high-stakes gambling. These scenes, calmly handled, really show this for what it was: daylight robbery, orchestrated by Bush's advisors and rushed through in his last days of office.

Capitalism: A Love Story does two things very well. One thing is to demystify a lot of the jargon, and explores – as Moore has done in all of his films – how governments use fear to manipulate the public. The other thing is that it ends with a note of hope, suggesting alternatives to capitalism and paying testament to the power of community spirit. His final words are very poignant, and though I think I'm misremembering them, they go something like this: “I can't live in a country like this. But I'm not leaving.” You might disagree with some of the things he says, and how he says them (indeed that's part of the fun). But there's something very endearing about Moore's Mr Deeds schtick, and if he stopped making these movies, the gap he'd leave – and the silence – would be profound indeed.

Login or register to comment.


1 El-Branden Brazil
Posted on Monday September 7, 2009, 15:55
For all his flaws, and we all have some, Mr. Moore is a very important, timely voice. He may not be an intellectual heavyweight of Leftwing Liberal political thinking, but he is the loudest voice, most able to concise the ideas of the Left into easily chewable, delectable soundbites for the masses.

2 tysmuse
Posted on Monday September 7, 2009, 23:38
I think M. Moore is a very genuine guy who doesn't yet get the appreciation he deserves. You simply cannot watch one of his movies and at the end go "Hmmm, I don't think that is a better way of doing it".

3 holland
Posted on Tuesday September 8, 2009, 09:55
I've always thought the criticism of Moore was somewhat out of proportion to his flaws. I once heard him called "the left wing Rush Limbaugh". Not even close! For one thing, their views are coming from very different parts of the soul (if you'll excuse the woolly concept). Rush comes from a position of fear and small-mindedness and bullyboy malice, picking on the most vulnerable in society. Moore is clearly sticking up for the small guy. They might both resort to polemic and a little distortion, but otherwise there's a world of difference between them.

Log in below, or register to post comments
Remember Me:


Empire States (444)

Under The Radar (335)

Infinite Lives (92)

Small Screen (57)

Words From The Wise (36)

Cannes 2011 (28)

Off The Wire (24)

Comic-Con 2010 (21)

Casting Couch (2)

Oscars 2011 (1)


Cannes 2015: Sicario
By Damon Wise

Cannes 2011: The Line-Up
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: Mr Nobody
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: A Single Man
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: Survival Of The Dead
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: The Men Who Stare At Goats
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: The Informant!
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: The Horde
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: Oliver Stone's South Of The Border
By Damon Wise

Venice 09: Capitalism, A Love Story
By Damon Wise


Cannes 2011: The Line-Up
"I advise everyone with dress problems to look (Www Voguebuybuy Com) It has the lat"  voguebuybuy
Read comment

Cannes 2011: The line-up
"Didn't even know Drive had been adapted. Been meaning to read it for ages. Yay"  jamesjewell1983
Read comment

Cannes 2011: The line-up
"Is there a reason why these articles cannot be shared on Facebook? Is it "  rgod
Read comment

Clint Eastwood's Changeling Is The Best Of The Festival So Far
"Test on IE"  DJH17
Read comment

Clint Eastwood's Changeling Is The Best Of The Festival So Far
"Test..."  DJH17
Read comment

Venice 09: The Bad Lieutenant!
"Just watched the film and thought it was great. Did not expect that ending that made the film so muc"  Zimbo
Read comment

Venice 09: The Bad Lieutenant!
"ian happy to read that nicholas cage is back on track. he has always been one of my favourite actors"  bellaphoenix
Read comment

Venice 09: My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?
"sounds like david lynch has directed most of the which case it should be AMAZING....ho"  FincherFan27
Read comment

Venice 09: A Single Man
"A Single Man sounds great! Knew nothing of it until now really, aside from Tom Ford being director, "  Acho
Read comment

Venice 09: Survival Of The Dead
"Is the picture from the film, or journalists struggling to get the right festival pass in the buildi"  Acho
Read comment


Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

Cannes Day Eight: Basterds!

Clint Eastwood's Changeling Is The Best Of The Festival So Far

Picture Of The Day

Cannes 2008: Epilogue

Cannes Day Five: Antichrist!

Venice 09: The Road

First Look: Fernando Meirelles's Blindness

Picture Of The Day

Damon Wise (299)
Helen O'Hara (181)
James Dyer (86)
Amar Vijay (71)
Ali Plumb (56)
James White (29)
Phil de Semlyen (21)
Owen Williams (21)
Simon Braund (6)
Nev Pierce (5)
Ally Wybrew (2)
Ben Kirby (1)
David Parkinson (1)
Will Lawrence (1)
Dan Jolin (1)
Ian Nathan (1)

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Evil Media: Haunted TVs, Tapes And Tunes
Ten sinister reasons to go off-grid

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)