A Friday Night in Plainville
Saw Fahrenheit 9/11 on Friday. I was struck by how large the crowd was, especially considering that we saw it in Plainville, Connecticut, which is about as politically active as it sounds. When leaving the theater after the movie, I was amazed to see a long line to get in to the next showing, the size of which I've only seen at the Plainville theater to get into the opening night screening of The Matrix: Reloaded.
Fahrenheit 9/11 is worth seeing. In my mind, the movie was made to get people talking and thinking about the current administration's policies and practices, and it does this very well. Our group was all pretty riled up after the movie (Sujal writes about his take on FatMixx), though it took several hours for me to digest the film.
Moore paints a picture of Bush as a clueless and ineffective leader, and he has a surprisingly large number of clips of Bush that bolster his case. I found the money and power discussion of the first half of the movie to be more interesting than the second, which focuses of the human cost of war. While Moore obviously aims at eliciting an emotional reaction by showing pictures of the carnage in Iraq, unflinchingly focusing on the mother of a young GI killed in Iraq as she bursts into tears, along with the flag-draped coffins of American soliders returning from the Middle East, these images underscore that the American public has been exposed to so few visceral reminders of war, at the behest of the Bush administration.
I felt angry, walking out of the theater. Angry about the administration's lies, but more about the media pandering to the so-called "party line", and the resulting absence of accountability. Moore makes a strong statement that he can be the guy who plays dirty for the liberals a la Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter, willing to ignore points that are inconvenient to his position. I wasn't sold on his "everyman" approach this time around--Moore clearly has an agenda. At the same time, it's a much-needed agenda in these times of *cough* "fair and balanced" news coverage.
Critics write about how Moore glosses over the truth, and while he almost certainly does, they miss the point: this movie is important because it's a highly visible, accessible media piece that questions and even attacks the Bush administration. In a country that supposedly cherishes personal rights and feedoms, and especially the First Amendment, this movie presents a perspective that has been absent from the mainstream media since September 11, 2001.
Rotten Tomatoes gave it 119/142, for a Fresh reading of 84%.