Sunday, June 27, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

I saw Michael Moore's new movie yesterday afternoon. It was definitely a cool experience. I headed down to Harvard Sq. around 2pm to catch the movie. I figured that if I'm going to see the movie, I might as well see it in a neighborhood that was going to be super receptive.

Most of the showings were sold out, but I had Fandango'd my ticket, so I was in good shape. The theater was packed, with a pretty diverse group of folks - young, old, male, female, variety of races.

The movie itself was pretty powerful. The first hour or so is typical Michael Moore satire. Think Roger & Me or the lighter parts of Bowling for Columbine. This is the portion talking about the, let's say, suspicious links between the Saudi royals and the Bush family (and friends). Lot's of easy jokes poking fun at members of the Bush administration, juxtaposing contradictory and hypocritical comments, etc. This is the part of the movie that will be the most divisive. If you agree with Moore, you'll love it. If you disagree with Moore, you'll hate it. He does take some shots at the Democrats, and rightfully so, as the weak-kneed assclowns rolled over for the Bush Administration post 9/11.

The most damning bit of evidence in the first hour is the now well-hyped 7 minutes that President Bush spends chatting with a classroom of children after the first two planes had been crashed into the World Trade Center. Now, I'm a pretty dyed in the wool liberal, and prior to now, even I had a hard time questioning the President's behavior in those first few minutes.

But seeing it happen ... well, it's hard not to question whether or not he was the right man for the job. He just sits there looking confused, his handlers not sure what to do. It's a pretty amazing sequence, and one of the most powerful of the first hour. The way Moore handles the actual tragedy of 9/11 is also masterful and quite tasteful.

The second hour of the movie is handled with very few appearances by Moore. It's predominantly footage of our troops in Iraq along with footage from Iraqis. It's alternately stirring, inspirational, depressing, tragic, and comic. You see the good and bad of our troops. You see the good and bad of the Iraqis. And you see the absolute tragedies of war (juxtaposed with some choice quotes from the Administration).

This portion of the movie also includes a mom from Flint, MI. whose son is in Iraq. You follow her from pride to worry to sorrow. It feels exploitative, but the message is a powerful one, and one that few people (thankfully) ever experience first hand.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is a pretty great op-ed, pretty great piece of propaganda, and incredibly well-timed movie. Selfishly, I hope that millions of folks see the movie and it helps them to make up their minds which way to vote come November.

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