Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
Michael Moore really doesn't like George W. Bush. Any American who doesn't live in a cave could tell you that. With Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore presents his admittedly biased case against Bush and the war being waged in Iraq. Unfortunately, when you're watching a Michael Moore film, you never know what to think because the only information you are privy to is presented to support his own views.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is split up into basically two parts: the first is an indictment of President George W. Bush, the way he has run the country, and his motives for starting a war in Iraq; the second focuses on the people fighting the war, and is easily the better piece of the film.
Moore makes the case that the presidential election of 2000 was a sham because votes from racial minorities were not counted appropriately, and that had they been, Al Gore would have won the election. Regardless, we all know that Bush did win, and in August of 2001, he decided to take a rather long vacation, with which some in the country took issue. Bush didn't seem to be terribly serious about his job--until September 11, and we all know what happened then.
What was our president doing when he heard the news that two planes hit the World Trade Center in New York? Reading to children in Florida. What did he do for seven full minutes after hearing this news? Absolutely nothing. Why? Well, this film provides us with some background, linking the Bin Laden family with the Bush family through the oil industry, in which both families are major players. So, members of the Bin Laden clan were rounded up and flown out of the country immediately after the terrorist attacks on the WTC. Why?
Fahrenheit 9/11 also accuses Bush of manufacturing the war in Iraq, claiming that he invented ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction in order to rally the American people behind the war effort, which was only for his own personal financial gain. Is this true? Who knows?
So where does this film succeed? It succeeds in telling the story of Lila Lipscomb, a Flint, Michigan native who, when we first meet her, is a fervent military supporter, citing that the military helps young people who otherwise wouldn't have a chance to get education and travel the world. However, after her son is killed in combat in Iraq, Ms. Lipscomb becomes disillusioned, questioning why her son had to die, and what good it did for anybody.
Moreso than in his other films, Michael Moore managed to stay off camera for a good part of Fahrenheit 9/11, though his voice is heard throughout in narration. When he is on the screen, he is usually grandstanding, like when he asks for Congressmen to enlist their own children in the military. A true documentarian observes and lets the audience make a judgment for themselves, but that is not Moore's M.O. He wants to present an impartial story, and he does, and I wish I could believe every word of it, but with Moore, you never really know.
March 19, 2005