“Marxist critique” and “listicle” don’t exactly go hand-in-hand, but immediately following Christmas, some of you might find yourselves feeling shellshocked by the month of excessive consuming you just endured (and likely to some extent enjoyed). What better way to remind yourselves of the troublesome makeup of this country — and many others — than through watching some particularly sharp critiques of the consumerist culture in which we all just rabidly partook? With such a wealth of examples of cinematic critiques of capitalism, it seems like due time for a list.
Foxcatcher (dir. Bennett Miller)
Foxcatcher turns the true story of multimillionaire John du Pont’s destructive “mentorship” of wrestler Mark Schultz into a frightening wage-gap allegory. Bored and sheltered by his own privilege, Steve Carrell’s du Pont takes Channing Tatum’s working class wrestler under his wing as his newest hobby. His easy dominance over the wrestler, and its toll on his spirit and family, seems to reflect the flaws in the institution of corporate charity, whereby an exploitative entity is redeemed — its shining, buyable image sustained — by its skewed affiliation with do-goodership.