Monday, July 05, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11: A late-night, too-many-rum-drinks review:

(You'll have to excuse me, I'm having a Christopher Hitchens moment.)

As usual, Michael Moore's new film is being decried for having a 'slant.' So what? I maintain that anyone who criticizes Moore's films as 'too biased to be documentaries' is ignorant of the medium. Saying that Moore is too biased is like saying this blog is too biased.

Duh. Of course it's biased. That's kind of the point.

Moore's films aren't cinema verite any more than I'm, and they've never purported to be otherwise.

Any 'bad press' Fahrenheit 9/11 is getting about being "full of lies," is referring to only the beginning third anyway, which describes all sorts of nefarious relationships between the Bush family and various Middle East baddies. This is all a little slow, to be honest.

These things aren't exactly a secret to anyone in blogtopia (y!sctp). And some of the connections are a teensy bit tenuous.

However, you do get to see Paul Wolfowitz suck on a comb and then smilingly rake it across his hair. Cripes, I'd like to hear an explanation for that one. Although I guess it does explain why his bangs always have a slight 'something about Mary' look to them.

Once the film actually catches up to 9/11, however, it's heart-wrenchingly honest in a way the media hasn't been in several years.

One moment which few reviews I have read have mentioned, was so powerful that I actually flinched. When Moore goes back to the titular day, instead of showing us the same footage we've all seen over and over again he gives the audience a completely black screen with only the audio of planes hitting towers.

It was so shocking to hear that deafening whoooomp the air was knocked out of me. I was reminded of what actually happened that day in a way I wouldn't have thought possible after years of listening to the Bush administration desperately harping on a non-existent Saddam-bin Laden connection.

Another favorite moment: the world-weary Washington state trooper forced by budget cuts to patrol the entire open coastline all by himself.

The sight of all those injured soldiers was also shocking, such as the man laying in bed with no arms or legs, or the man with permanent nerve damage who has quit the Republican party and vows to be a lifelong Democrat? Is he lying about being so angry?

Or how about the poor, terrified female soldier who barely held back tears while talking about expecting to die at any moment? Or the fantastically young-looking soldier talking about a little part of himself dying inside every time he takes a life?

Are they lying about that too? I won't even mention the footage of the Iraqi grandmother screaming "Where is god to help defend us? Where has god gone?" while standing amidst the rubble that used to be her home, except to say that it brought a tear to my eye.

Moore visits a woman from his beleaguered hometown of Flint, Michigan who has made the kind of sacrifice for the American way of life that most of the people responsible for starting this war couldn't even fathom.

Is her pain and anguish all a lie? Is her betrayal at the use of her son as cannon fodder a figment of Moore's imagination? Is it all 'staged,' as a passerby dares suggest to the woman later in the film?

In this movie Michael Moore seems to support our troops more than anyone I've heard fling about that catchphrase recently. In revisiting Flint, he makes the point that many of the soldiers dying and killing for Halliburton's no-bid contacts are from economically impoverished areas and often have no other job prospects than joining the military.

Near the end of the film, Moore states that it's funny how the same people who have been screwed by the American system are the first to risk their lives to defend it. "All they ask," says Moore with less irony that you'd think, "is to not be put in harm's way unless it's absolutely necessary."

For people whose ideas of a sacrifice are monthly blog hosting fees or some spare change for a bumpersticker (and I suppose this is directed at both sides of the isle) hopefully this is a huge reality check. It's really easy to bloviate at the keyboard while 18 year olds are fighting so we don't have to.

It's our responsibility as voters to remove the man responsible for starting this war from office, and not reward him with four more years to bleed us dry both literally and figuratively.

Okay, rant over.

No comments: