Friday, April 20th, 2012

We’re Not Broke is a mess of a documentary. I can’t figure out which one of several stories the film’s makers are trying to tell: Multinational corporations don’t pay income taxes, or; multinational corporations are corrupting politics, or; grass-roots organizations are reigning in the corruption of government by multinational corporations.

I think that last one might have been what they were shooting for, the only trouble with that being, it didn’t happen. Occupy Wall Street hardly makes the news anymore as anything but a mob of homeless people, not that that isn’t important, but is it affecting the back-room machinations of multinational corporations? I have to doubt it, even after watching We’re Not Broke. And the flash-mob US Uncut remains largely unknown to mainstream America even while other flash mobs get a million YouTube hits for singing and dancing in food courts across the country. Make a documentary about why that might be and you’d have an interesting story.

We’re Not Broke had one or two good ideas, the best one starting from the idea in the title. Governments aren’t broke. They’re not businesses; they can’t go broke. They can spend more than they take in, and most of the time they do – I’d love to see a documentary that dissects how they get away with that.

Or, I’d love to watch a documentary spotlighting the political drama queens who planted, nurtured and brought to fruition the whole “We’re broke” meme of right-wing government, with special emphasis on where that meme came from and how it was supported by the mainstream media. We’re Not Broke started off going in that direction, but very soon devolved into a series of talking heads bantering about how dangerous these developments are.

Then it forked off in several different directions, illustrating corporate greed with dancing dollar signs and political corruption with a bass-heavy soundtrack. It was an emotional appeal, where I was hoping to find a well thought-out explanation supported by extensive research. If I wanted to watch an emotional appeal, I could turn on Fox News or MSNBC and get it any time, any day. That’s why I don’t watch television news, and that’s why I wouldn’t recommend a documentary like We’re Not Broke.

We’re Not Broke | 10:31 am CST
Category: entertainment, festivals, music, play, Wisc Film Fest
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