Seeing a documentary is a different kind of movie-going experience. If I agree with its cause going in (The Cove, Food, Inc.) then I have to remind myself to view the film with complete objectivity. Critique it based on its cinematic merit; how well it portrays the cause, not how well it agrees with it. So, based solely on that criteria, I must say that Capitalism isn’t all that great.
I’m no fan of Michael Moore but I am a fan of his filmmaking. Whether or not you agree with his left ideals, you can’t dispute his skill to craft a documentary. His timing in use of music and retro pop culture clips is impeccable, some of the best around.
When he’s at his worst, Moore is intrusive (more than is needed), annoying, laughable and just simply unamusing. But at his best, Moore shows us some deeply honest moments, that no one but him could catch. The laid-off worker hearing “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” immediately after getting canned in Roger and Me, the K-Mart/bullet incident in Bowling for Columbine, the grieving mother breaking down in front of the White House in Fahrenheit 9/11, almost every interview in Sicko, and so on.
Capitalism has a few of those tender moments, sure, but they aren’t enough to shield you from Moore’s trying-too-hard antics.
When I “learn” something from Moore film, I take it with a grain of salt. Which means I go home and immediately research to see if it’s true. A few things in Capitalism (companies cash insurance policies on dead employees, then pay the family nothing), were shocking to see, and I found out, true. You see, I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t seen this movie. So for that I can appreciate it. I can say I learned something.
But other times, specifically near the end, Moore seems to veer way off course (cause?). He has an extended section mocking conservatives’ use of the word Socialism. Like it’s a bad, four letter word. BEWARE OF THE… SOCIALISTS! In typical Moore style, he lets the people make fun of themselves by showing actual news footage. But then something strange happens. Toward the end of the movie, Moore ends up doing the same exact thing with the word Capitalism. He starts going all fire and brimstone like Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly would (do?). And believe me, Moore isn’t doing this mockingly. He’s serious. So, now, he’s become a sort of contradiction. Making slight use of a word as if it is an all evil force (he even begs the audience to help his cause via some awful narration). I have trouble with this. And yeah, it kind of ruined the movie for me.
Sicko is long and far my favorite Michael Moore film. Why? Because I enjoy hearing about the cause. Because it feels the most real. And maybe, because Moore is in it the least. C