12.12.09

more on the same

In the end, what is to be done? After watching “Capitalism,” it beats me. Mr. Moore doesn’t have any real answers, either, which tends to be true of most socially minded directors in the commercial mainstream and speaks more to the limits of such filmmaking than to anything else. Like most of his movies, “Capitalism” is a tragedy disguised as a comedy; it’s also an entertainment. This isn’t the story of capitalism as conceived by Karl Marx orNaomi Klein, and it certainly isn’t the story of contemporary American capitalism, which extends across the globe and far beyond Mr. Moore’s sightlines.
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As it happens, the most galvanizing words in the movie come not from the current president but from Roosevelt, who in 1944 called for a “second bill of rights,” asserting that “true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.” The image of this visibly frail president, who died the next year, appealing to our collective conscience — and mapping out an American future that remains elusive — is moving beyond words. And chilling: “People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.” It’s a brilliant moment of cinema both for the man delivering the speech and for Mr. Moore, who smartly realized that he’d found one other voice that needed to be as loud as his own. 


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