DIRECTOR: Michael moore (Fahrenheit 9/11, bowling for columbine, roger & Me)
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Filmmaker Michael Moore predicted that Donald Trump would become the 45th president of the United States. Traveling across the country, Moore interviews American citizens to get a sense of the social, economic and political impact of Trump's victory. Moore also takes an in-depth look at the media, the Electoral College, the government agenda and his hometown of Flint, Mich.
When you hear the name Michael Moore if you are left of the political divide you may think 'hero' if you are more right you make think he's a bit of a troublemaker or words that cannot be typed here. You could almost hear the collective raging howls from the right when Moore announced that his next film would be about Trump. "It'll be heavily biased, it will be lies, it will be fake news" you can almost hear them spew feverishly. Fahrenheit 11/9 doesn't go easy on Trump, not in the slightest. But it goes after everything and everyone else too making for a horrifying yet brilliantly needed call to arms.
Michael Moore begins Fahrenheit 11/9 with Trump's election and works his way backwards, attempting to assess how the USA managed to elect Trump. We see the system of government and the media, populated by the rich and powerful on both sides, and how they failed the working and middle class. Moore explores the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, ordinary people running for public office, and the student organised March for Life against gun violence.
Documentaries, particularly those with political content, are always a little tricky as they're filled with information that is processed through all of the various filters and biases of the filmmaker. But thats one of the reasons why we watch any kind of film; fiction or non fiction. Thats one of the many reasons why, as an art form, film really does matter in our cultural landscape. Because it lets us see the world through the eyes of another, we see their stories, which in the climate we live in is more important than ever.
So Fahrenheit 11/9 is a certain perspective on the world but its a pretty darn balanced one. Sure Moore is scathing of Trump but he goes after the Democratic golden 'gods' too: Obama and the Clintons. He really is unrelenting because he's attempting to show us that the political system in the US is really broken. Its filled with too much money and those hungry for power. And it really is a more than compelling argument.
I had never heard of the Flint water crisis which under governor Rick Snyder saw the poisoning of Flint's water supply with children getting lead poisoning and people contracting and dying of Legionnaires disease. Its heart breaking viewing.
But Moore doesn't leave us without hope. He shows us stories of normal people from normal backgrounds running for office, hoping to bring changes to help their communities. We hear the stories of young students who organised the March for Life against gun violence and their uninhibited courage to bring change in their nation.
I've only seen my wife cry twice in a movie. The first time was in 12 Years a Slave where Solomon is trying to stand on tiptoe with a noose around his neck. The second time was in Fahrenheit 11/9 - it really is that harrowing and equally moving. Especially when Moore interviews the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor Ben Ferencz who, with tears streaming down his face, quotes from the Statue of Liberty's inscription.
Fahrenheit 11/9 will have you mad as hell and hopeful in equal measure. Absolutely essential viewing.