July 04, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11: The Movie Everyone Should See Twice

I don't have much to say about this great film, nor much time to say it in now, but you all should know that this is the movie that you should take everyone you know to regardless of their party affiliation. It will make the Democrats you know galvanize their Kerry support and it will, at the very least, create doubt in any Bush supporter that's not either a pundit whose livelihood depends on verbally falating GW or is so crazy far right that they're not sure if Bush is far enough to the Right.

Like all Michael Moore films, this movie is, at it's heart, something to entertain the audience and does not attempt to be anything like a History channel documentary. Most of the criticism from the Right has been exactly this point, but let's try to think of all the documentaries which conform to that method of documentary film making AND got even a minor theatrical release. Hmmmmmm. The best description I've heard of F9/11 is that it's an "op-ed documentary", which sums it up pretty well. Like an op-ed piece, F9/11 is not a fiction piece like Chronicles of Riddick, but it's not a story by the Associated Press either. Moore has a definite point to make and though he presents many facts, he also interprets them in a very obvious way and reaches a conclusion.

Moore himself stays out of most of the film personally, and only really has two of his signature "guerilla journalism" stunts, only appearing in a few scenes and sticking to narration for the rest. The stunts are funny, but like so much of this movie, the humor is bound up with an anger over what has happened in the last four years. For example, in one of the stunts Moore rides around in DC in an ice cream truck reading the Patriot Act to the members of Congress because according to one of his sources the Patriot Act, which arguably has restricted many normal people rights unjustly, was signed into law with most of the lawmakers not even reading it. See what I mean?

Along with the humor comes a deep sadness about what's happened to normal people in all this. Several parts of the movie revolve around a military family from Moore's own Flint, Michigan and the loss of both family and faith in the war. Flash over to Iraq and we see another mother who has lost several members of her family and screams to God for vengeance. If you don't at least feel like you could maybe get a little teary watching this film, you need to watch it again and I'll come puck you in a "sensitive area" at the part where you're supposed to cry. What really makes the emotion succeed in a way that so few Hollywood movies do is that you know it's all real. That's a real dead child there. That's a real destroyed home.

Flash over to a meeting of big industry IN post-Saddam Iraq talking about how "once to oil gets flowing" they all stand to make unheard of profits from this war, and you can start to see where the anger comes in. Now the weakest part of the film involves Bush's connection to certain business deals and some of the political implications those connections might have and it's exactly that "might" that is the weakest link. Like I said earlier, Moore is out to entertain but he uses pretty solid factual basis for most of the film. This part of the film, however, relies more on innuendo than solid evidence, but I don't think it necessarily damages the film or is even supposed to be taken as literal fact. Most of this part of the film deals with the House of Bush and the House of Saud, the royal family of Saudi Arabia, and most of the innuendo is, I think, supposed to make the audience say, "Man, why do we have a guy with so many potential conflicts of interest in the White House." rather than give a factual account of what happened.

Anyhow, in conclusion, go see this film now. I think it's Moore's best work yet, mostly because it is so poignant and has the potential to have a real impact on the world. It tries to cover a little more ground than I think is possible in a theatrical film, but like I said before this is a film to entertain the audience and hopefully make them interested enough to go research afterwards because it really is this bad.

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