Sep 12, 2007

Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

In this film, muckraker Michael Moore turns his eye on George W. Bush and his War on Terrorism agenda. He illustrates his argument about how this failed businessman with deep connections to the royal house of Saud of Saudia Arabia and the Bin Ladins got elected on fraudulent circumstances and proceeded to blunder through his duties while ignoring warnings of the looming betrayal by his foreign partners. When that treachery hits with the 9/11 attacks, Moore explains how Bush failed to take immediate action to defend his nation, only to later cynically manipulate it to serve his wealthy backers' corrupt ambitions. Through facts, footage and interviews, Moore illustrates his contention of how Bush and his cronies have gotten America into worse trouble than ever before and why Americans should not stand for it.

The silence before the ovation is what stays with me

Contrary to what so many of us were lead to believe, this movie does not portray a negative message. George W. Bush and his administration aren't painted as fascist tyrants at all. They appear to be fools, power-hungry but fallible. As such, their stranglehold over the American people isn't concrete. There is hope that things can change, and that seems to be the overall message in this film.

For every American soldier Moore shows talking about the adrenaline rush they get when they kill, every soldier that appears on screen as a trigger-happy madman, he shows an American soldier dead on the streets of Iraq. The film progresses as a two-hour reenactment of the thoughts that must go through so many soldiers minds, starting out as a soldier going to war, fighting for the safety of their country against enemies that surely want all Americans dead, but all certainty of their righteousness gives way to hesitation, to men and women questioning why they are there fighting a war that has no clear justification.

Moore also uses his various clips and interviews to show how similar the American civilian population are to the Iraqis. His portrayal of the Saddam-era Iraq was certainly biased, but so many people are happy, looking for joy and prosperity, something that isn't as alien as some of us would like to think of the Iraqis as being. One thing that stays in my mind now, the day after watching this film, is one Iraqi woman crying for her lost family members outside her burned and ruined home, screaming to Allah for help. Comparing that woman to Ms. Lipscombe from Flint, Michigan, who lost her son in the war, crying in her interview with Moore and asking for support from Jesus just shows how this war affects all the people caught up in it equally.

That is to say, all of the people, except those running it. Throughout the horrifying clips of war, we see Bush, who appears to be completely out of touch with how his war is affecting those who are fighting it for him. Bush's bumbling makes up the lighter moments in the film, but in retrospect, they are just as frightening as the War itself.

Moore's overall message was that hope exists, but without action on the part of the silent and downtrodden, that hope will vanish. This is a film designed to have people take action, whether it is in the form of taking to the streets in protest, or simply voting Bush out of office in November. It was a powerful message for a powerful film, and as many have said before me, it received standing ovation at the end. But it was that short moment of silence before the applause that really stays with me. That quiet collective gasp where people are trying to digest the weight of Moore's message.

Yes this movie is biased. It is the war and the world through Moore's eyes, but the message is not buried in the bias. I suppose I can sum it up best by saying this film was painfully human. It is human nature to question injustice and hypocrisy, and Moore is there to remind us of that.

::link source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361596/

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