Although Oscar-winning Michael Moore's incendiary new film fits into the
documentary genre, it's really agit-prop - and whether you'll like it or not
probably depends on whether you're opposed to President George W. Bush or one
of his supporters. Moore's rabble-rousing agenda leaves no room for historical
context, an analysis of facts or debate. It's a brilliant blame game.
"Fahrenheit 9/11" is a scathing political attack that begins with
shocking footage of how our President, a vacant, confused look on his face, sat
in a kindergarten class in Florida, reading "My Pet Goat," for seven long
minutes after being told that America was under attack on Sept. 11th.
While Moore refers to murky connections between the Bush and bin Laden
families and cites Craig Unger who wrote "House of Bush, House of Saud," he
catapults the viewer into the grim, sordid reality of war, showing dying
Americans and Iraqis, and speaking with a few of the 4,000+ casualties at US
hospitals who feel betrayed. A sequence involving US troops ridiculing hooded
detainees near Samara parallels the sexual humiliations that occurred at Abu
Ghraib at the same time. Finally, there's grief-stricken Lila Lipscomb reading
a letter from her son, Sgt. Michael Pedersen, who was killed in Iraq, noting:
"He got us here for nothing whatsoever."
Much of this information is not new. It's simply packaged in such a
compelling way that it ignites controversy and provokes discussions about its
implications. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, which measures how well a
movie succeeds it what it set out to do (i.e.: a thriller, a comedy, a drama),
"Fahrenheit 9/11" is an angry 8, although its real effectiveness as muckraking
propaganda may be reflected by the outcome of the November elections.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger