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Movies: Fahrenheit 9/11
Saturday, 2004 July 3 - 4:48 pm
Michael Moore's latest movie has shattered previous box-office records for documentary movies. It's also garnered heaps of both criticism and praise.

By now, I'm sure everyone has at least heard about "Fahrenheit 9/11". It's Michael Moore's op-ed documentary on the Bush family, 9/11, and the Iraq war. It's message is not that Bush was responsible for 9/11. (No one is suggesting that, contrary to what Fox News might tell you.) The message is that the Bush administration capitalized on 9/11 to dupe us into invading Iraq, thus benefiting his fat-cat oil company and Halliburton cronies.

So first, cinematically, this movie is good, but not great. Moore is at his satirical best when he uses the Bush administration's own speeches and footage against it; he is not so great when he tries to manipulate us emotionally with weepy war widows and bloody Iraqi children. As in "Bowling for Columbine", Moore cleverly juxtaposes images and video clips to great effect, but sometimes it feels like he's hitting you over the head with a hammer to make his point. I'd say this is probably on purpose; he's not looking to make a gentle point, he's looking to broadcast his message as widely as possible.

Most people will ignore the cinematic aspects, though, and focus on the politics. That means that most will either love this film, or they'll dismiss it as liberal propaganda. (I just read that a movie theater chain owner in Iowa has banned this movie from his theaters. Sheesh. His loss, though; this movie is just raking in money. At Brier Creek today, showings were still selling out.)

Some have called this film un-American, because "dividing this country in a time of war is just what the terrorists want". Moore must have seen this coming, because he talks about how the government uses fear to keep folks in line. Thinking that we must support the President to keep the so-called terrorists from winning is a prime example of how fear clouds judgment. Mac and Linux users have a term for this, applied mostly to Microsoft: it's called FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

Besides, if unity and cohesion are what people really want, why shouldn't we all rally behind Kerry instead? This is a rhetorical question... obviously, no person wants group unity if the consensus opinion doesn't match his own opinion.

Democrats love the fact that someone has finally given voice to their frustrations and their message, without getting pedantic and pointy-headed as Democrats are wont to do. Republicans ought to see this movie so that they can understand the source of the Democrats' rage... but they probably won't. Hopefully, though, independents and moderates will go see this movie and gain a little perspective by doing so.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 (but a must-see anyway)
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Posted by Ken in: moviesreviews


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