It's tough to talk about a movie like this without personal politics coming into play, so let's get mine out of the way right now: I'm liberal about a lot of things, and I have a lot of socialist views when it comes to others. I have always disliked Bush, and I intensely disagree with his war on Iraq. Now on to the review.
From an entertainment standpoint, Fahrenheit 9/11 is very well done. It's moving, it's funny, it tugs at the heartstrings. It's ostensibly a documentary, but it's fast-paced and never dry. Informationally and politically speaking, it left me with a very uneasy feeling. Despite agreeing with Moore's message, and learning some new things about the ties between the Bush and Bin Laden families, the one-sidedness of the film was unsettling.
Moore spends much of the film bombarding the viewer with rapid-fire quotes clipped from footage of Bush and other politicians, skillfully edited to great comic effect, always making the Republicans look like fools. It's a cheap tactic, though: who couldn't be made to look like a fool if all of their worst quotes were edited together?
A central portion of the film is the tale of an American mother whose son was killed in combat during the invasion of Iraq. Your heart will go out to her. Her grief is overwhelming and contagious. It's also incredibly manipulative. Walking the subjective line between milking emotions and telling an emotionless story is a tough thing to do. Fahrenheit 9/11 disregards this line completely, and does more milking than a dairy farmer with eight hands.
After the movie, I wondered aloud to my friend: Would this film change anybody's mind? Was it just preaching to the choir? A guy overheard me and told me his friend never cared about politics until he saw this film and immediately registered to vote Bush out of office. “Great,” I thought. I told him so and I meant it. But now I'm not so sure. This is an entertaining movie, and an informative one at times. But one could just as easily edit together a bunch of footage that makes Bush seem like a saint. Nobody should base all their opinions on one movie.
My advice? Go see this film. Be entertained. Learn a few things, maybe. But take it with a grain of salt for what it is: an entertaining editorial at best, liberal masturbation material at worst.
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