Fahrenheit 9/11

:: I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 last night at the local stadium-seat theatre complex. I went to the 9:50 show, having bought a ticket earlier in the day. The show was sold out. I can’t remember the last time a documentary received such a wide release, and then proceeded to sell out on its first night in Canadian theatres. I look forward to reading the weekend US movie grosses. The film has already broken single-day records in at two NYC theatres. One East Villlage theatre showed the film every 45 minutes, and then decided to show it all night long.

Moore is facing a barrage of criticism, and is responding to some of it with Fahrenheit 9/11 Facts. Christopher Hitchens, for example, spares him no quarter. Then again, others aren’t sparing Hitchens much, either. Chris Parry, of Hollywood Bitchslap, rips Hitchens’ comments apart piece by piece.

Moore is encouraging people to e-mail him their responses to the film, some of which he has compiled here. Earlier, he lost an appeal to reverse the MPAA’s R Rating of the movie. No such rating applies in Canada. The movie is receiving enormous amounts of press coverage, and the reviews are mostly positive. Movie City News does good work assembling links to reviews and news about the film.

I found it difficult to come away from the film without feeling much disgust for the Bush administration. Moore shows us a black screen, while we hear the sounds of the two jets hitting the World Trade Center. As the events of September 11th, 2001, unfold, he outlines the Bush family’s ties with the Saudis and with the bin Laden family, and then moves to the war with Iraq. It’s not a great documentary – it is biased and skewed, and Moore has said repeatedly that he hopes the film will convince Americans to vote Bush and his cronies out of office. It is, however, very convincing.

He doesn’t spare the Democrats either. He chastises them for being spineless in their criticisms of and stands against Bush and the war on Iraq. Moore shows us how quickly the Patriot Act was passed, and his outrage at the Democrats for seemingly rolling over and allowing the bill to be pushed through without much opposition is very evident.

The film is not without humour. When the camera pans censored and uncensored copies of Bush’s record from the Texas Air National Guard, the guitar riff from the song, “Cocaine”, is heard, for about five seconds. Thankfully, Moore limits his screen time considerably, thus taking the focus away from him, and towards his intended targets.

In the last section of the film, Moore takes us to his home town of Flint MI. Flint’s unemployment is high, and the US military targets low income, high unemployment areas of the USA, such as Flint, looking for new recruits. Two marines troll a local mall just for this purpose. In Flint, we also meet Lila Lipscomb, a job placement counselor, and a true American patriot. Lila is dedicated to her job, always fighting for the underdog, and considers herself a “conservative democrat”. When we learn, later in the film, that her son, Michael Pederson, is killed in Iraq, the effect is devestating. When she reads the last letter her son sent before his death, the audience was barely breathing.

The film has many powerful moments. American troops break into an Iraqi household, leaving the occupants terrified for their lives. As if to contrast Lila Lipscomb’s grief, Moore shows us an Iraqi grandmother in tears, raging into the camera after a US bomb killed members of her family. Moore shows us a convention at which business are briefed on how much money they can make by investing in the rebuilding of Iraq after the war.

I did mention humour: the film opens and closes with scenes of members of the Bush Inner Circle being prepared for media interviews, getting preened by makeup and hair staffers. The scariest image is of Paul Wolfowitz, sticking his comb into his mouth before using it on his hair. I almost ralphed my popcorn at that moment.

Regardless of your feelings about Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a must-see movie. I will see it again sometime soon.

BTW, Moore is wading into our federal election here in Canada, which happens on June 28, advising Canadians not to vote for the right. Ralph Nader has joined the chorus.

Finally, Moore has a blog. Well, almost.

This post was submitted to Blogcritics.org.

One Response to “Fahrenheit 9/11”

  1. Steve Says:

    Remember, Moore is a liar… Take for example the release of bin ladens family.. bush did not order this. I’ll make it your homework to find out who did… Its in a book… The person who wrote the book states he was the person who release the bin laden family to fly.

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