Bowling for Columbine

Reviewed By Slyder
Posted 09/13/04 22:07:04

"Groundbreaking and absorbing, even if you donít agree with it"
5 stars (Awesome)

Michael Moore had already showed his skills as a filmmaker with the release of Roger and Me in 1989 which marked a turning point in the use of documentary filmmaking, which introduced a stronger point of view and a more relevant subject of everyday life (compared to lets say Hoop Dreams and When We Were Kings which deal with issues that arenít of much importance in everyday life). In 2002 Moore brought the whole thing full circle with Bowling for Columbine, a more complex in-depth study on gun violence and its influence in American Culture and the results are impressive, even if you donít agree with his points of view

Inspired by the horrors of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, and laying said incident as a blueprint, Moore plunges deep into the American psyche and its obsession with violence that has generated an aftershock of fear which caused several million people in the US to buy several billions of dollars worth of guns over its entire history and raised the murder rate to unprecedented standards. He examines every side of the fence and their answers towards that fear and that obsession and even offers a lifestyle comparison with neighboring Canada with a sarcastic sense of humor which is both deeply funny and disturbing sometimes. Ultimately, thanks to his investigative journalism, he brings out some really scary and awful truths and unravels the importance in the marketing of fear, whether is via news agencies, or taught socially and politically through the ages.

The standouts are the several interviews that Moore makes to several people with his usual in-your-face attitude, notably his interview with Marilyn Manson (which made me have some respect for the guy), the father of one of the boys that was killed in Columbine, James Nichols who is brother of Oklahoma terrorist Terry Nichols, Barry Glassner who wrote ďThe Culture of Fear,Ē South Park co-creator Matt Stone, and last but not least, Charlton Heston who is currently the president of the National Rifle Association.

Moore makes several historical connections which can try and explain this fear, which lie amongst racism, politics, greed and social injustice, and sometimes it makes us laugh at it even though the contents themselves are infuriating and saddening (the cops taking it seriously about the dog that shot that hunter, and not seeing the Hollywood sign due to pollution in LA and of course, the animated short A Brief History of America which was created by South Parkís Trey Parker and Matt Stone), all of this giving you food for though in order to make you think for yourself about the situation.

Of course, Moore has to make his own opinions about what heís examining, and many people will tend to agree and disagree with it, and there are several points that he leaves unanswered, but thatís the whole point, to create discussion and discuss about these problems that are affecting the American society in general and based on our own opinion answer it ourselves. I personally donít agree with several radical points that Moore makes as well as certain manipulations he makes (Moore is a spin doctor) and the climaxing shocker with Charlton Heston though effective demonstrates Hestonís middleman status, a pawn that his only business is just to sell and the real crook behind the business of fear lies somewhere within the system. I do I admire him for the topics he brings out to debate, and his willingness to make these topics relevant.

In the end, this film is a must-see for everyone. Probably the most important film to come out in this new millennium and deserving of itís Best Documentary Oscar, itís a shocking yet amusing portrayal of American life under the gun, and whether youíre liberal or conservative, it will challenge your views to the very bone. 4.5-5

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