Directed by: Michael Moore
Premise: The film is a documentary about the George W. Bush administration and criticizes Bush from the 2000 election through the Iraq war.
What Works: While this film lacks the broad cultural perspective of Bowling for Columbine, Moore’s best work, Fahrenheit 9/11 does an excellent job of portraying fairly complex political issues in layman’s terms. Unlike his other films, Moore stays out of the frame in this picture and lets the editing and images construct much of the story.
What Doesn’t: A characteristic of Moore’s filmmaking is a tendency to jump to conclusions and he does this in the first section of this film, particularly in his indication that some sort of conspiracy landed Bush in the White House. As in his other films, Moore occasionally lays the pathos rather thick and that is true in parts of this film as well. Also, in Moore’s attempt to cover four years of complex material in two hours, the film sometimes oversimplifies sections, such as the portion on the Patriot Act.
Bottom Line: As a piece of filmmaking, Fahrenheit 9/11 is documentary filmmaking at the top of its game regardless of its political agenda. It is to the film’s credit that Moore stays out of it and lets the audience absorb the drama as it unfolds. As a piece of argumentation, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a very partisan piece but it embraces that political point of view rather than attempt to conceal it. Is Fahrenheit 9/11 a piece of propaganda? Of course it is. It’s also one of the best and most important films released this year.
Episode:#8 (July 4, 2004)