qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

Michael Moore and Lord Reith

When I go to see a film, I want to be entertained, and whilst I am happy to be educated and informed, I do not want to be lectured. Michael Moore has hit the spot again with Fahrenheit 9/11.

I thought the first half of the film, beginning with the electoral farce of 2000 and the first few months of the Dubya presidency, and moving on to 9/11, its consequences and the Bush-Bin Laden background, was excellent. As the topic moved toward Iraq, paradoxically I felt it started to lose impact and became more preaching (though the observation that senators and congressmen should be prepared to send their own children into the armed forces was both funny and entirely logical). I didn't find the footage of a bereaved parent particularly effective - although she had every right to be hysterical, a person in that state does not provide me with a compelling logical argument for any course of action.

I did learn some things from the film, probably nothing of great consequence in all honesty but entertaining nevertheless. For example, I remembered the story about someone losing the senatorial election to a dead candidate - I didn't know that the loser was John Ashcroft, subsequently Attorney General. I didn't know that there were petitions about the election in Florida that required the approval of just one senator, and none was forthcoming. I knew that several Saudi nationals were spirited away from the USA immediately after September 11th - I didn't know they were all members of the Bin Laden family. I didn't know the extent of Bush's financing by the Bin Ladens, though I don't think one should judge the entire (extended) family by the conduct of only one of its members, and how many completely ethical businessmen are there, anyway?

It has to be said that Michael Moore is extremely talented at splicing soundbites. He made no pretence of balance, and I imagine that some cuts were unfairly taken out of context, but that can be justified easily by their comic effect. I would have liked to hear more of the surreal world of Donald Rumsfeld. The soundtrack was also well selected, including the cerebral and sublime Cantus in memoriam Benjamin Britten by Arvo Pärt accompanying the footage over 9/11.

My initial reaction was that, overall, it was not quite up to the same standard as Bowling for Columbine, but 24 hours later, I am inclined to rate them more evenly. It isn't a film that will change minds - those on either side of the fence will stick firmly to their views, I think - but yes, it might push one or two people off the fence.
Tags: film
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