Director Michael Moore, the man who gave us the legendary Flint, Michigan, documentary Roger & Me, certainly has his technique down cold. He knows how to soften us up with a laugh &#Array; mostly at ridiculous soundbites culled from television, and his own loopy bravado &#Array; then completely sucker-punch us with a horrifying image or disturbing statistic. There's no question that his style is perfect for this occasionally amusing, often disturbing, but ultimately exhausting look at firearms violence in the United States, which takes as its starting point the horrifying massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, and spins its message outward to encompass September 11 and beyond.
Moore's techniques and message are so powerful and persuasive &#Array; and his scruffy, paunchy everyman image so likable &#Array; that it's easy to forget (or even not notice) just how profoundly manipulative he is as a filmmaker. That, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing &#Array; he's a guy with a point of view, and he's taking aim (pun intended) at gun crazy America. And, to his credit, he's not exactly anti-gun &#Array; or doesn't seem to be; rather, he sees guns in America as symptomatic of white middle-class fear. I think.
The point is, I'm not completely sure what the hell Michael Moore is saying with Bowling for Columbine other than we Americans have a lot of guns and use them on each other too much. Is he advocating more gun control? Perhaps &#Array; except he spends an inordinate amount of time telling us that our neighbors in Canada have a huge amount of guns per capita and almost no gun-related violence. Is he criticizing the media, whose coverage of violent events helps create a climate of fear? No question &#Array; except his very own movie would be about half its length if he didn't liberally use clips from the very news coverage he condemns. Does he think organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA) are irresponsible nuts? Maybe &#Array; except, toward the end of the film in an interview with NRA fundraiser Charlton Heston, Moore introduces himself as "a lifelong NRA member" and even produces his membership card. This after he's spent the better part of two hours castigating the NRA for its insensitivity in the face of tragedies like Columbine; are we to understand, then, that Moore is a dues-paying member of an organization that he presents as (at best) uncaring and (at worst) nuts? A contradiction, to be sure, although Moore himself seems to like such contradictions, which makes Bowling for Columbine a simultaneously fascinating and confusing experience.
So what do we have here? Well, we get Moore at his populist best, catching celebrities like Heston (who, to his credit, at least sat down and agreed to an interview) making complete asses of themselves. As well, Moore &#Array; and two young survivors of the Columbine massacre &#Array; take on K-Mart, which sold the rounds that Harris and Kleibold fired on April 20, 1999...and gets the company to agree to phase out the sale of ammunition (cynical me couldn't help but wonder if this move helped hasten K-Mart's recent bankruptcy &#Array; there's a lot of legitimate sportsmen and hunters out there who probably bought their ammo at K-Mart). He snags interviews with people ranging from the brother of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols (a so-crazy-he's-hilarious crackpot) to a high school kid who makes napalm using recipes from The Anarchist Cookbook (a bonechilling slacker who's like something from a Larry Clark movie) to shock-rocker Marilyn Manson (articulate but surprisingly uninteresting in what he has to say). In other words, he's dug up a cast of characters to rival any David Lynch flick in sheer weirdness, except they all happen to be real people.
But when it was all over, all two hours of it, I found myself wanting to ask Michael Moore what it was all meant to add up to, and why it took so long to get there? Moore apparently wanted to tackle everything &#Array; from racial stereotypes to U.S. and world realpolitik &#Array; but in the process he's made a film that's virtually about nothing except how violent the U.S. is (and, he acknowledges in a hilarious animated history lesson halfway through the film, always has been) and no doubt always will be, guns or no guns. At the end, I found myself mostly wanting Moore to give us that staple of high school essays: A single coherent thesis statement (he gives us at least a dozen possible ones). Then, agree or disagree, I might have found this compelling, appalling, boring, hilarious, frustrating mess to be a real work of documentary genius, rather than an interesting failure.
Michael Moore´s Bowling For Columbine Essay
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Michael Moore´s Bowling For Columbine
Bowling For Columbine is a well-directed documentary that informs people about gun violence in America. Michael Moore is successful in showing that America has been going through many gun tragedies; and portrays the sense that America’s problems are out of control. He conveys this through informative facts, images, and comparisons.
Throughout the film Michael Moore throws many cold facts on the screen that makes it obvious that the strong nation of America is unruly. One of the facts that stand out the most is the number of deaths caused by guns in America per year. In comparison to the other countries, America has an outstanding of 11,127 gun related deaths a year. This is ten times…show more content…
A perfect example is that just before Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot up the school, America was dropping bombs on Kosovo. In addition, it was the most bombs dropped in that war. If the father, the almighty American government cannot keep its composure, why does it expect its children the citizens to be able to keep theirs? The development of an image of what the nation of America truly looks like.
Michael Moore tries to prove his point by showing images that are very intense. The most intense image in my mind is the picture of a deformed child who has experienced the wrath of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols after bombing the federal government building in Oklahoma City. It can be concluded that Timothy and Terry did not have the intention of hurting children; rather they were after the federal government. This is the problem in our society; Timothy and Terry were willing to sacrifice the souls of young children for their own cause, portraying a lot about their wild violent minds. Moreover the picture of the destroyed building in which 168 people died, shows so much recklessness. The fact that two men were able to organize a mass destruction portrays the undisciplined mindset that they are in at the time of the crime, such acts of violence lays the ground work for the film showing how America is basically repeating the past. Now that an image of America is finally developed, Moore goes on to look at how America compares to