Cinema’s Commentary on Consumerism

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Have you ever noticed that many films take aim at consumerism? This is somewhat ironic being that the movie industry itself does indeed depend on consumerism. But cinema seems to be specifically concerned with when consumerism goes too far — when we become obsessed and begin to define ourselves by the things that we purchase. Movies like Fight Club are quick to call us directly address us on the carpet for such behavior, going as far as to have Brad Pitt look directly into the camera and tell us, “You are not the contents of your wallet.” Other films do so a bit more subtly. George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, for example, is a classic zombie horror film. But what do these zombies represent? Well, one look at the undead mob wandering mindlessly around a shopping mall should clue you in a bit. Movies need us to consume, but they are more than willing to issue a warning on excess.

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