Movie: Fahrenheit 9/11

Watched: 06/25/04 AMC Southdale 16 Score: 7

I went on opening day to see Fahrenheit 9/11 with Di. It was a good thing that we bought our tickets online in advance, because it sold out almost every showing at the theater we went to - there was a line outside the door when we were leaving. While I’m glad that lots of people are seeing this movie, I came out of it lukewarm. It wasn’t all that entertaining, and didn’t present any information which I didn’t get from other sources already.

Michael Moore’s second big “documentary” movie (the first being Bowling for Columbine) tries to make some sense of what the government is thinking after the 9/11 attacks. There are many different views, picks on, and defenses of this movie on the ‘net already, so I think I’ll just stick to what I felt in my gut right after seeing it.

Fahrenheit 9/11 seems, as best, hectic and disconnected. There are good facts in here, somewhere, but I’m not sure where they are. Moore starts with the election, which he insinuates was turned by family ties at Fox, and goes on from there to Senate tapes from which House members plead for the contest of the election. I would have liked some followup on this, some interviews or statements from Senate members at the time on why they wouldn’t contest the election, but Moore presses on.

He’s just a couple steps from the 9/11 attacks, in which we watch the debris falling and the president as he sits stunned at the news of the attacks at a photo opportunity for 7 minutes. Honestly I’m not sure what Moore is trying to bring across here, because if I was the leader of the country, I might just sit there for 7 minutes trying to think over the situation. If it was a half hour, an hour, longer, I would expect some action, but 7 minutes? Please. If his point was the inaction, Moore could have contrasted this with our vice-president Dick Cheney’s quick action of ordering planes that did not respond shot down.

From here, he goes on to criticize the war on terror, the absense of troops in Afghanistan, and the entire war on Iraq. There are issues I have with some of these as well, but I’m getting tired so I’ll talk about the other part of this movie: the emotional part. Moore of course finds a connection in his home town of Flint, MI with a son who was lost in Iraq. This is disheartening, and there are hundreds of stories all around the country. There may be a point in this, but all it did was tug on the heartstrings for me. A sad story, but lives have been lost over worse things.

I came away from this movie wish-washy about it. The movie seems like it tried to address too many issues and was fragmented. It is obvioously biased and I don’t know why we as liberals aren’t calling Moore on it. We complain about how the “Fair and Balanced” reporting of Fox is hurting the american public, but can’t hold a movie with equally obvious slant to the same standards. I give it a 7, because it’s a great collection of things that are otherwise scattered, and it’s emotional message drives home well.