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.