Capitalism? Alive and Well. Michael Moore’s Reviewers? Hopelessly Biased
The critics, as usual, look beyond his dubious techniques, wildly partisan potshots, and other gimmicks they wouldn’t swallow from any other documentary director.
October 6, 2009 - 12:00 am
“Love” means never having to get your facts straight.
Oscar winner Michael Moore, the far-left documentarian behind Bowling for Columbine, Sicko, and Fahrenheit 9/11, is back with Capitalism: A Love Story.
This time he’s telling us our capitalistic system is evil and needs to be put down, and naturally, most film critics are looking past his dubious techniques, wildly partisan potshots, and other gimmicks they wouldn’t swallow from any other documentary director. But cracks are beginning to show in Moore’s media fan club. Some critics are actually holding Moore accountable for his shrewd cutting and splicing.
Capitalism scored a 73 percent “fresh” approval rating on rottentomatoes.com, one of the leading review aggregators. That’s down from the 84 percent earned by Fahrenheit 9/11 back in 2004 and the 93 percent rating he earned two years ago for Sicko. Capitalism drew a tepid $4.8 million in its first weekend of wide release, less than his more commercial hits.
By now, critics can’t simply applaud Moore and his tactics blindly. Even the least discerning film journalists understand his cut-and-paste, fast-zoom approach to visual op-eds is simply a card trick. But oh — what a game of three-card monte Moore pulls off time and again, they cry.
Entertainment scribes often do their darnedest to avoid properly labeling Moore as liberal. He’s a rabble-rouser, a populist, a muckraker — anything that neutralizes his ideological bent will do. Imagine a right-of-center documentarian getting such slack. Then again, we’re still waiting for a right-leaning documentary filmmaker to break through as successfully as Moore has. Say what you will about him, Moore has the ideological doc platform all to himself.
More than one critic assaulted his techniques on Capitalism, only to add an “and yet … ” to include their admiration for his body of work. Slate’s Dana Stevens, who serves up the funniest review of the lot:
Even those who largely agree with Moore’s politics are often mortified by the delivery system … and yet, and yet: There’s something touching, even a little bit noble, about Moore’s eternal willingness to serve as our nation’s shame-free populist gadfly.
Wow, what a hero! Moore keeps making movies, pocketing millions, and receives both an Oscar and a cushy seat next to former President Jimmy Carter at the 2004 DCN convention.
Legendary film critic Roger Ebert, who in recent years has tried his hand as an op-ed author with predictably liberal results, uses his review to prop up Moore’s PR spin:
He is also a working-class kid, no college education, still with the baseball cap and saggy pants, who feels sympathy for victims.