(Rated R, mainly for some profanity): As Iggy Pop sings, "The capitalists just break your heart," you know where iconoclast Michael Moore is headed with his latest attack on the Big Guys who suck the life out of the little people.
It began in 1989 when his first documentary, "Roger & Me," aimed at General Motors in his Flint, Michigan, hometown. He followed with the castigation of our political system, the general proliferation of fire arms, and problems in the medical sector. Now he tackles the big banks, the insurance companies and the cupidity of politicians for cash.
Specifically, after a pictorial & narrative history of democracy (from the Romans on up), showing how the simple life up to the Reagan era was democracy and free enterprise in action, then taking hits at a collapse into a new form of capitalism, the recent bailout, financial deregulation, the fizzling of the auto business, weak insurance policies, Goldman Sachs' influence on Washington, right on to an old-fashioned sit-in at a Chicago door/window factory which, he claims, hints at the little man's solution to rotten capitalistic controllers.
Narrating in a calm, deliberately paced voice, Moore reveals example after example of how the big guys are suffocating Democracy as we used to think of it. In shades of "Roger & Me" he films "dead peasants" being ousted from their homes, shows striking contrasts between the "haves" & the "have nots" and in general how the modern version of capitalism destroys democracy. He continues with how the good leaders (Roosevelt, Obama) have worked to restore justice, how the bad leaders (Reagan, Nixon, the 2nd Bush) either caved into or favored the corporate magnates (G Sachs - the "king of Wall Street" - heading the pack). Always, he punctuates with specific dates, facts, numbers - piling them on so that when he finally offers some general direction for a reversal (the sit-down strike, for example), he also strongly hints at the power of worker co-ops and the individual vote for change.
It's whirlwind of information, highlighted with irony, humor and biting satire, with less of the disputable tactics that dampened the force of his other exposés. This is an angry Moore at his finest, leaving his audience in stunned silence after witnessing his best delivered arguments to date - strengthened, of course, by the general public's already sinking hopes for light at the end of the current economic tunnel. (Ironically, he began production on this film well before the crash of the present recession.)
Produced by his sister, Anne Moore, and ingeniously edited by no less than three editors, the sprawling 126-minutes should be seen by as many people as possible, regardless where they stand on the issues presented. This is Moore's best made film yet. (Grade: A-)