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Michael Moore looks into the income and wealth gap that he believes is tearing the US apart. He visits families in Florida being evicted from their homes, sit-in strikers taking on the fight for their final wages and their pension payments after their factories were shut down, and Wall Street bankers to get back US taxpayers’ bailout money from the fat cats and make some citizens’ arrests along the way.

Just like “Sicko” before, the approach of the film is to take a very American perspective on a global topic. It is clear that you can point out the ruthlessness of a specific system most poignantly when being … well: specific. By using American fates and American scandals, making American politicians confess an American system failure, this makes a very impressive setup – if you happen to be American. Seen from the outside – again, just like in the case of “Sicko” – this is a very abstract tableau of situations. The way US households tend to lay their fate into the hands of mortgage banks or credit card companies is stunning, the sheer level of ignorance towards rational economising on household resources mind-boggling. I wished the links between for instance the Reagan system and the corporate sponsors would have received more elaboration instead, or other links into the Clinton and Obama administration that were merely hinted at.

Part of these deficts seem to stem from Moore having increasing trouble making his highly personalised films – wherever he goes, security staff alerts everybody that “that filmmaker Moore” is around, bankers he tries to stalk in front of their office buildings have learned their lesson from other Moore films and never engage in conversation (and here comes the proof: the one who does immediately makes a fool out of himself when advising Moore to “stop making movies”). So Moore needs to change style to something more like a visualised film essay, where most of the footage comes from the victim side, and most of the talk is being done by Moore himself. Having a Greenspan, Clinton, or one of the Bushes on record – that should have been the target!

So he falls back on some small-scale guerilla actions: coming with big money bags to collect the debt or rolling out Yellow “Crime Scene” tape all around the Wall Street banks. This makes good symbols, but the end of the film leaves him not much more than asking the viewers for help, because it is more than clear that the offenders will not pay for their crimes.

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