The Fahrenheit 911 Saw it the other night. Came out of it in a state of shock... cos I was so mad at the audience. I wanted to just stand up and ask them exactly what they were laughing at at certain moments. Boy, does Moore make some cheap shots.
The opening montage showing Bush, Rice etc. as they're having make-up applied is presented in ominous slow-motion, with very serious acoustic guitar playing minor arpeggios underneath. The implied tone is "Look at them, concerned with their own vanity in the face of all the horrible things they're doing". Truth is, EVERYONE gets made up before they appear on TV. I think that fact was lost on the audience, who fell for it hook, line and stinker. Just like they fell for the obvious cheap shots of Bush playing golf while espousing remarks about terrorism and then returning to his golf game. I think people prefer to believe that Bush is somehow skipping an important meeting as opposed to being hounded by journalists on his downtime. I could go on...
And, in speaking of Iraq, to flat out say that we waged war with a "sovereign nation that has never, once EVER hurt, tried to hurt or has even thought about hurting any American citizen" on top of a montage of Iraqi children playing games and other pastoral scenes just made me laugh. Mind you no one else did.
I will say the movie had some powerful moments, but they tended to occur when Moore wasn't talking, but instead when presenting footage that spoke for itself, given to him by war cameramen. Footage of American soldiers and Iraqi citizens blown to pieces, or blown apart but still alive, etc. And amazing commentary from our soldiers about what they do to get pumped up before they begin an attack, which mostly involves listening to rock CDs at top volume to get them 'in the mood' for kicking ass. Or in just following two Marine recruiters as they hunt down all the poor kids in a neighborhood to get them to enlist ("You wanna be a musician? You oughta join up!").
I could go on, but I won't.
Best case scenario is that this movie is seen by otherwise politically neutral teenagers, who then decide to go on a quest for more information on what they saw and heard.
Worst case scenario is that all the 'pre-decided' folks and the conspiracy-theory set will see it and applaud and laugh right on cue, and come out feeling all the more self-righteous about their position.
I WILL say this though. Given all possible reasons for going to war, our being in Iraq seems pretty damn lame. THAT I cannot refute.
And now, a special treat: A few additional remarks by my lovely wife Reba, who saw the movie with me and would like to respond/add to my review. Take it Reba!...
I agree that Moore as a filmmaker is not a "true documentarian", as those who loathe him say--I think he doesn't see himself as such either. He's got an obvious agenda, and he's gonna push it. In a petty, childish way, it's nice to see someone on the Left being as obnoxious as the Right usually is. So there, tttthhhppppt! Maybe it's not the best way to attack the Right, but until someone else offers up another way (that, um, works), I'm gonna support Moore for using Fox News-tactics right back at 'em. If that's what people are watching (god help us), and those people might be roused vote against Bush, then stooping to a base and simplistic world view is WORTH IT! Being on the elitist high-horse that so many Left-wingers are on (myself often included) is just not working. Fight fire with fire.
I think you're also not fair to the audience. I think everyone in that theatre understands that one gets made up for TV. It's just that we don't often see our serious, stuffed-shirt leaders being primped and prissed. It is funny. They look ridiculous--especially Condoleeza Rice. If it was a shot of *anyone* who is so as self-important as our pres. & company, it would still be funny. C'mon, let us have a laugh at their expense! I can laugh at Gore and Clinton and the rest of them--why can't I laugh at Bush et. al.?
And don't forget the interviews with soldiers who aren't pumped up, who don't want to be there, who are obviously terrified and angry. That and the shot of the mother who is confronted by the scary wench in DC are incredibly powerful.
There are some tremendous scenes in this movie, though as a movie it...well... it's not a magnificent piece of art. I agree it's propaganda. And knowing that doesn't make me feel self-righteous (you're gonna pay for that, husband), just very, very determined.
But I highly recommend seeing the movie. There is a lot in there to think about, so much that raises frightening questions, serious doubts, and--for me--tremendous anger. I think Moore has succeeding in some classic, effective muck-raking journalism: he stirs it up, now let's see what the public does with it.