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Fahrenheit 9/11

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On my stop in Bremen last week, I watched Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 [IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, official]. I guess there's been enough hype around the film for everyone to know what it is about by now. There's a bit of Dubya dissing here, a bit of unveiling how invested Saudia Arabia is in the US and its ruling class there, some 'unveiling' of fact, a bit of war and, consequently, dead soldiers.

But Michael Moore weren't Michael Moore if he didn't take these things up-close-and-personal and to his hometown Flint where many people live in hardship. And that's what's special about the film. While many people may say – So Iraq has been invaded for no reason. So what? What do I care? I'm living in the U.S., this may even be good for our economy, Michael Moore shows them why this is bad for (almost) everyone: Liberties, one of the core American strengths, are undermined by inducing fear (a topic that may be familiar from Bowling for Columbine) to coerce people into wanting the laws to cut into their liberties and be turned into a nation full of paranoid whistleblowers. American soldiers, dying for the causes that other people consider worthwhile. Those soldiers being the kids of American moms &c. We see some tears there – but they may be necessary:

While, intellectually, the whole Bush régime may be a sick joke, it's a joke at the expense of (among others) these soldiers and their families. These people die. And the 'commander in chief' sends them to die. That's pretty harsh. But that's the reason why anyone'd want a person in such power to not only give a first and a second thought on the topic of going to war. That's why the person needs to be highly competent and well-informed.

board announcing cancelled flight

Another twist I liked in the film was how Michael Moore empathises with the people in power. The often-quoted scene where Dubya and his crew get their make-up make them look very human and vulnerable. They're just people like you and me. Behind their façade they may not be different.

And then of course the brilliant question that if the American people payed you a few hundred thousand bucks a year while your Saudi friends invested a billion in you, your family and friends – where'd your loyalties lie?

I didn't need any convincing regarding the recent attack on Iraq or the need for régime change in the US, so the film didn't do too much for me. I still thought it's quite powerful in places and well orchestrated. The only thing I severely dislike is the title. It's just a cheap pun.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

August 12, 2004, 1:11

Tagged as 911, film, michael moore, usa.

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