Movie Poster
Fahrenheit 9/11
Michael Moore
121 min.


So, apparently, it now seems, George W. Bush is a dickhead. Credit Michael Moore with educating leagues of hitherto bamboozled democrats as to the genitocranial inclination of our president. This, of course, is sarcasm. No one will see this movie that doesn't already agree with it. This is The Passion of the Christ for people with Wellstone! bumper stickers. Except it doesn't villify the Jews. No, somehow the Jews have pulled a fast one on us again, escaping the harsh light of Michael Moore's camera four times in a row.

Anyhow, Fahrenheit 9/11 makes some interesting points. In fact it is a reasonably interesting movie overall. The film is split up into roughly four separate segments that only tangentially relate to one another. The first outlines the Bush family's extensive business connections with Saudi Arabia and the family of Osama Bin Laden. This is the most interesting of the segments, playing like a real-life conspiracy mystery. After this he examines the military's policy of recruiting poor people, shows us John Ashcroft singing, follows some soldiers through Iraq, and exposes a number of other things that everyone in the audience already knows about, but is eager to applaud anyway.

Michael Moore has, and I hear has made a big deal about, largely cut himself out of the film. Except for the omnipresent narration. He does show up a couple of times to dole out some Texas-style ironic justice on Congressmen, looking more and more with every passing year like a scraggly-bearded version of the guy who explodes in The Meaning of Life, but for the most part he is just a voice. And the sensibility. Fahrenheit 9/11 has already recieved some critical flack for not presenting a balanced account. They forget that this is not a work of journalism, this is a work of propaganda. It isn't supposed to be both sides, it is Michael Moore telling you what he thinks is worst about George Bush. It may parade as a tool for educating the masses, but we know this stuff already: it's a rallying cry. I knew most of this stuff (outside of the family connections, which were interesting), and I haven't paid attention to the news during the entirety of Bush's term.

Filmically, this is less than impressive. A series of explanations and emotional appeals not so much strung together as set next to one another, in the hands of a real filmmaker (say an Errol Morris) this could have been hammered into a great film. That no one would have seen. Fahrenheit 9/11 is opening on 800 screens this weekend, not because it is incendiary or any other such nonsense, but because Michael Moore is a marketable commodity. He's practically Nike. A fat, liberal Nike that makes movies instead of shoes. At the end of the film it seems kind of a shame that all the connections drawn within each section are not drawn between the sections. And that each section gets built up only to switch to something else just as it starts to really get interesting. But this is the first film since the last Star Wars that has sold out every show at Har Mar. That's something.

Clearly Micahel Moore believes he is doing something important here. As do Miramax's Weinsteins and Lions Gate Films. I'm not sure what that would be, we liberals are perfectly capable of jerking ourselves off, but it remains interesting nonetheless. And to be fair, John Ashcroft is a pretty good singer.

The answer is: .81(repeating).

Pat Jackson