* * * *
Those who are infuriated about Moore's documentary style really need to chill out. He, as well as anyone who has seen his films, know they really aren't documentaries. They more closely resemble Brecthian theatre (but that's for another paper entirely). And the point is not to give us a clinical, fair story, but to give us one man's provocative opinion. Like all Moore films, this is about Michael Moore. This time around he's trying to figure out why we, unlike every other industrialized nation in the world, don't have Universal Healthcare. Moore's films are always personal, in a strange sort of way, which make them so abhorrent to some, and endearing to others. This film does contain a few moments where he exercises his ego. But gone, except for perhaps his most daring stunt, are his guerrilla interviews, and set-ups. His celebrity status has pretty much made those sort of scenes impossible. And I believe that the lack of those unflattering, but often incredibly funny, moments, have made Moore a better filmmaker. He's still not even close to subtle. Honest might be a better word.
His last few films have been intricately made essays melded with PR comic stunt work. This film is quite different. It is his most humane film, and his most accessible since Roger and Me. While Richard Nixon, via those crazy old tapes of his, comes off as the devil incarnate, missing are any demonic straw men (also interesting is how Hillary Clinton comes off as the second worst person in the film). This is every bit as funny as any of his films, but this is definately his most moving. The humor has moved from ironic distance, to a more upfront gallows humor, as many of the films subjects in face, and experience death. The film becomes about its subjects, and how people, and cultures handle tragedy, suffering, and compassion differently, but also how similarly we experience those human events as well.