Monday, June 28, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004): A Review

Monday, June 28, 2004
A film by Michael Moore

Michael Moore has stated from the start what Fahrenheit 9/11 is and what it is intended to be. The film is an attack on President Bush about his handling of our country and his actions after September 11, 2001. The film is an indictment for his entire presidency and President Bush’s failure to truly “lead” our nation. Michael Moore has had no hidden agenda. His agenda with this film has been quite public. He wants to educate the public about President Bush and he wants President Bush out of office. Moore is using this documentary as a platform against President Bush and he is open about it. All documentaries, whether or not the director is open about it, have a certain amount of bias. I’m not sure it is possible to not show bias and still have a quality film that makes a point. Moore is just less subtle about his bias than most.

Since this is a documentary, there are three things that must be taken into consideration:
1. Is this a well made, quality piece of filmmaking?
2. Is this movie entertaining?
3. Is the documentary factual?

The first two questions are common to all movies. The third question is directed towards a documentary. I do not have the expertise to answer question 3, but I can say that many of the arguments Moore makes in “Fahrenheit 9/11” are ones that I have heard before, often from reputable sources, so I am inclined to accept the veracity of the facts presented in this movie. The facts may be accurate, but is Moore’s interpretation truthful?

Michael Moore opens “Fahrenheit 9/11” with the 2000 election and the claims that George W Bush, with the help of his brother and the official vote counter of Florida, cheated to win the election. Moore goes onto show the viewer how Bush always intended to invade Iraq, even before September 11, even if there was no connection between Iraq and the particular terrorists who were to blame. Moore continues to show the connection between Bush’s family and the Bin Ladin family (which is not the same thing as a connection directly with Osama) and how numerous members of the Bin Laden family were allowed to leave the United States without being questioned only two days after the 9/11 attacks. It is Moore’s contention that President Bush has been a failure as President, but worse, has been damaging to our country and to the world.

Right now I have no reason to doubt the facts presented in “Fahrenheit 9/11”, but it is Moore’s interpretation of the facts that point to a larger conspiracy among everyone in the administration to fight the war in Iraq no matter the provocation (or a lack thereof). It is Moore’s interpretation that says that President Bush deliberately manipulated America with the fear of post 9/11 that has allowed him to fight a war that nobody would have supported otherwise. I’ll admit that Moore makes a compelling and powerful case, but I’m not sure how much I am yet willing to accept all of his interpretations.

One thing is clear to me, however. “Fahrenheit 9/11” is a skillfully made political film that far surpasses any of the political advertisements that you see on television that are “approved” by the candidate. “Fahrenheit 9/11” is deeply moving, often funny, and is a well made, well crafted film. It goes without saying that this is a very divisive film and perhaps the viewer’s enjoyment of it (or even acceptance of it) may very well depend on what side of the political spectrum one finds himself (or herself).


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