Review: Fahrenheit 9/11

Michael Moore’s new film doesn’t make excuses for why the U.S. Commander-in-Chief shouldn’t be in office or re-elected, but it does make you think about it.

During the last election for the President of the United States of America, the state of Florida became key because of how close the campaign race had become. With election night results within a single percentage point, enough strings were pulled to elect George W. Bush over Al Gore in what appeared to be a popular vote for Gore after every recount. From that starting point, filmmaker Michael Moore has assembled a timeline of conflicting interests that not only appears to provide financial opportunities for the administration?€™s friends and family, but further suggests that international ties to non-American investors continue to be put ahead of the very people who?€™s uncounted votes couldn’t stop those in power from rising to it in the first place.

To say that Michael Moore of Flint, Michigan, is something of a showman is an understatement. Love him or hate him (or his methods), Moore presents himself as someone who’s paying attention for those who aren’t, or at the very least he wants his audience to believe that. Like any journalist with a scoop, any information presented as fact is often taken on faith and on the credibility of the person who presents it. Moore has been accused of manufacturing or re-creating events, stacking interviews, and dressing up facts to prove whatever point he?€™s addressing, but it’s hard to believe that everything being said in a film like this is completely false; there’s just too much coincidence.

Take, for example, the scene of the President of the United States being told on September 11, 2004 that a plane has struck the World Trade Center. Cameras in the Florida classroom (where he followed along in a book with students) document any U. S. citizens’ worst fear: a president in conflict. When a second whispering aid apparently tells him a second plane has struck, minutes go by without even one order being issued, just an uncomfortable face and squirming body language that can too easily be read as, “What am I supposed to do now?” The images are powerful and edited to maximize their effect, but it DOES have an effect.

The flip side of this documentary film is that it is ill timed to appear before the next election and Mr. Bush?€™s reelection effort. Or could that be perfectly timed? It?€™s easy to say that a current occupant of the Oval Office wouldn’t want this kind of negative publicity in a presidency already facing controversy over the need and excessiveness of our “measured response” to 9/11 (aka “the War on Terrorism”). At the same time, it is very hard to ignore that much of what is said in the film are things already being said or whispered by other media outlets, and Michael Moore merrily connects the dots across a timeline that suggests repeated attempts to keep everything Moore is presenting out of the minds of the common, blue-collar American citizen.

Is it all true? Is he right? Is this all really happening? Moore mostly lets his film speak out for the audience to draw their own conclusions, but it’s certainly something every American citizen should see and consider before enlisting or casting their next vote.

(a three skull recommendation out of four)

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