Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Release of Fahrenheit 9/11. From
Iraq: The eve of the invasion, Outside Abu Ghraib Prison, Eyewitness
account form Samara. From Washington: Rose Garden press briefing,
Condoleeza Rice’s 9/11 testimony, Lila Lipscomb at the Washington
DC Premiere. Music: Soundtrack to War, System of a Down music
video 'Boom', John Ashcroft Sings; Additional footage: Homeland
security Miami style, Extended interview with Abdul Henderson,
Arab/American comedians, Kudos Youth Group, Career Gear featurette.
IT BEARS all the hallmarks of the classic David versus Goliath
struggle, as one man, namely Michael Moore, attempts to take on
the might of the US government, in the form of President George
W Bush, but it could yet prove equally as decisive as that mythical
Fahrenheit 9/11 is the film everybody seems to be talking about.
An incendiary look at America, post September 11, 2001, it has
since enjoyed the strongest Box Office opening ever for a documentary,
despite alleged attempts by both Disney and The White House to
block its release.
And it is certain to place even more pressure on the beleaguered
President of the United States, by questioning several of his
policies and business allegiances, as well as depicting him as
something of a fool.
Moore, himself, has stated that if the movie can ‘inspire
a few of that 50 per cent that did not vote in this country to
get back involved, to re-engage, then the movie will have accomplished
What it does do is re-awaken a nation’s senses at a time
when they have the power to react. It may be one-sided and impartial,
but given the propaganda emanating from The White House at the
moment, as it seeks to justify its role in Iraq, who can really
begrudge Moore a forum for his own propaganda, as is his democratic
Especially since many of the points he raises are extremely pertinent,
and the questions he asks have long required answers.
For such reasons alone, the film makes for must-see viewing,
so long as viewers remember to take a step back, afterwards, and
realise that this is just one man’s opinion, and that many
of the arguments have been over-simplified.
Moore is to be congratulated, however, for having the balls to
make a stand. Like him or loathe him, there is no denying that
he poses the questions that many have been afraid to ask.
His documentary, while laugh-out-loud
funny, in places, is also extremely harrowing, refusing to pull
any punches throughout the duration of its two-hour running time.
It opens with footage of the botched US Presidential elections
of 2000, before stepping forward to that fateful day in September,
when terrorists struck at the financial heart of a nation.
In what is likely to have viewers gasping with bewilderment,
Bush is then seen contemplating news of the second plane crash
into the World Trade Center, while reading a copy of ‘My
Pet Goat’, at the children’s school he was attending.
And the hits then keep on coming, as Moore reveals how the government
arranged for members of the Bin Laden family to be safely flown
out of America just two days after the atrocities, and explores
the numerous business links between Bush’s family and prominent
Saudi families (including the relatives of Osama).
It also takes a look at the impact on grass-roots Americans,
as the government bids to maintain the fear-factor, while simultaneously
embarking upon a rigorous Army recruitment campaign among the
And it sneaks cameras into Iraq, interviewing US soldiers about
their disillusionment, before showing harrowing footage of the
effects of US bombing campaigns on Iraqi women and children, as
well as the troops themselves.
Such segments are every bit as explosive as the bombs which reigned
down upon a nation themselves.
Moore, too, refrains from some of the showboating he resorted
to during his Oscar-winning documentary, Bowling
for Columbine, only occasionally putting himself in the picture,
to show how he hired an ice cream van to circle Washington, in
order to read the Patriot Act to America's congressmen for the
first time, and also tried to get senators to enlist their own
sons in the Army.
But such antics also provide some much-needed relief from the
harder stuff he has in store, most notably his depiction of a
pro-military mother, who subsequently loses one of her sons to
Given the provocative nature of proceedings, it is little wonder
that many of Moore’s ‘facts’ have been placed
under scrutiny, and it is therefore up for viewers to form their
own opinion of the conclusions it draws, rather than be bullied
by either side.
But given the film’s release on the eve of another US election,
it might just land the telling blow to Bush’s chances of
re-election, and provide Moore with the most prized scalp of all.
For that reason alone, it makes for compulsive viewing for anyone
with their eye on current events.