in Film

Farenheit 9/11

Last night, we went out to the wonderful Phoenix Cinema to see the new Michael Moore film, Farenheit 9/11.

I didn’t see Moore’s earlier film, Bowling For Columbine, but having recently read Stupid White Men and seen so much about Moore on the TV and Internet I was looking forward to watching it, albeit with a little scepticism. I wasn’t disappointed.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was lent Stupid White Men to read by a friend. When it was passed my way I had recently finished reading another political book, The Silent Takeover by Noreena Hertz. Moore’s book differs vastly in tone and style from Hertz’s, which is particularly notable as on a number of occasions they seem to be driving at the same point. Hertz makes some very well-reasoned, well-thought-out arguments that show how the primary purpose of governments these days is to create an attractive environment for investment by multinational companies, as opposed to looking after the welfare of its citizens. Governments rely on getting investment and money ‘trickling down’ from the richest to the poorest in society instead of taxing company profits and redistributing wealth centrally. The book is a wonderful read and appears to back itself up with footnotes, references etc. By comparison, Moore’s book comes across as a personal rant.

Although for the most part I agree with Moore’s political slant and what he is trying to do with his book I found it very hard to digest. All along I found myself thinking that there seemed to be a lack of evidence for his arguments, which distracted from the central points he was making.

By contrast, Moore’s new film is a revelation. It has been a long time since I came out of a film feeling so emotional – I was extremely angry and appalled at what I had seen. Although the film is very US-centric, it makes me ashamed to be associated with the what my country has been doing abroad, particularly in Iraq. You want to shout out that the Iraq war was not in your name, but then you realise that although it is so blindingly obvious that we were duped by our leaders we have done hardly anything to try to remove them from power. Hopefully both Bush and Blair won’t be around for much longer in their respective governments.

Although I didn’t particularly enjoy Stupid White Men, I think it is so important that somebody like Michael Moore is around, creating books and films on these topics that appeal to the general public. I have only read one of his books and seen one of his films, but based on that he seems to be a far better producer than writer. Farenheit 9/11 was so much more subdued than I expected – Moore left it to Bush and co to make themselves look at times menacing, ridiculous, dangerous and stupid, which they seemed to do with great ease. It’s a must-see film.

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  1. Great review. I’m about to go and see 9/11 aswell and looking forward it even more now. I agree totally with your opinion about Moore. Yes he’s sensationalised the issues….and yes, too many of the things that shocked me with ‘Bowling for Columbine’ were staged (like the free gun at the bank scene)…but unfortunately we need people like him to get Joe Schmoe intrerested in issues like this. If you like this political stuff Noam Chomsky is always good. His book ‘Hegemony or Survival’ talks about the US’s blatant quest for world domination. He’s an American intellectual who can write with simple clarity and logic and the issues he discusses are shocking enough without needing any showbiz sparkle to hook you in.

    While I don’t want to sabotage your blog and tranform it into a book review for concerned citizens, another one I’m getting through now, (which is more philisophical rather than political) is called ‘Ishmael’. I’d recommend it as something different but it’ll change the way you think about…everything I suppose.

  2. Thanks for your comments. I’ve not read anything by Noam Chomsky but it’s a name that I’ve been aware of for quite a while; I’ll try and read some of his works, particularly as it looks as though there is quite a bit on-line. Thanks!

  3. Michael Moore has a great way of getting facts recognised, and has a very likeable persona. The facts he presents aren’t always obscure or hidden from the public eye, but his presentation is second to none (if emotive) and I think anyone who tries to popularise politics to open people’s eyes to the atrocities carried out under ‘democratic’ rule deserves a pat on the back for their passion.

    A similar style of film I’m looking forward to is “Super Size Me” – a documentary in which a guy of above-average health eats nothing but McDonalds for a month. We know the score – burgers make you fat, so the outcome will be no surprise, but perhaps the action that the McDonalds chain takes in response will surprise you…they are said to have changed their marketing strategies post-filming so they’re not playing into the hands of the film-maker. The change is so sly and clever, but at least the guy makes his point. You can check out to see what I’m on about…

  4. saw ‘Supersize Me’ the other day and felt natious the whole way through. You’re right. Nothing new but put together in an interesting way. The part I found most disturbing was the amount of times I heard a ‘morbidly obese’ person with a cheeseburger in their chops say (with a whining, high pitched screech) “I’ve tried EVERYTHING…I just can’t seem to loose the weight” There’s just this lack of responsibility, both personal and as a community. HAVE YOU LOOKED AT YOUR FAT ASS IN THE MIRROR?

    The international film fest is on in Auckland at the mo and I am having a frenzy movie watching. I’m sure I’ll have something to relate no matter WHAT the blog!

  5. Read “Fat stupid white man”; it’s a rebuttal of most of the arguments Micheal Moore puts out in his film. Fahrenheit 9/11 might be good propaganda but it’s not neccesarily true.

  6. hahaaa. I think it’s good that people are questioning Mikes motives and I agree that, like any other film/documentary maker, he has his own agenda and biases. He stages things for effect and 9/11 was a blatant manipulation of the emotions.

    As long as people keep Mike honest (by challenging his motives) I am sad to say that I think this type of documentary/entertainment is the only way to get rid of the blithering idiot who sat for 12 minutes sucking his bottom lip when he had been told his country was under attack by suspected terrorist.


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