"...edifying and enlightening but it does not feel quite as fresh as his previous works."

Moore’s New Film is Less Fresh But Worth Seeing

(102018) 2018 has been a decent year for documentaries so far. In the first half of the year we have been treated to the superb, "Will you be My Neighbor?" which was put on JR’s Top 10 Midterm List on this website. There was also "Parallel Lives", an excellent examination of Indy music; "RAG", an informative look at the feminist Supreme Court judge; and Wim Wenders’ pious but moving, "Frances: A Man of His Word."

Another potential nominee for best doc in the Oscar race was recently released. Michael Moore’s half comedic/half serious "Fahrenheit 11-9" does a decent job of completely eviscerating the sitting president, but of course how much you like it may depend on where you stand on the political spectrum. Moore attacks Trump and administration for their part in the Parkland Shooting; the continuation of the Flint water crisis; the Muslim Ban; plus many decisions that negatively affect minority groups.

"Fahrenheit 11-9" is edifying and enlightening but it does not feel quite as fresh as his previous works. The film includes some of Michael Moore’s trademark stunts, but not all of them are satisfying. While I enjoyed seeing Moore spraying contaminated water at the house of Governor Snyder (who was responsible for poisoning the Flint Water supply and perhaps killing who knows how many people), when Moore’s dubs in Trump dialogue into footage of Hitler footage it comes off as obvious and juvenile. The film is not quite as sharp, original or biting as 2002's “Bowling for Columbine,” and it certainly never quite rises to the level of “The Great Dictator.”

Bur Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 9-11" is a sneakily effective and provocative doc about how Trump got into power that chronicles many of his clownish antics since he got in office. You may recall that early in the election Moore was one of the only media figures who predicted Trump’s win. Even Trump seemed somewhat surprised by his victory. The New York Times said that Trump had only a 1 in 4 chance of victory,

As you might gather from the title, the film is a semi sequel to his acclaimed earlier doc, 2004's "Fahrenheit 9-11" which did earn an Oscar nomination even though it was the highest grossing documentary ever, and one of the most critically acclaimed docs of the year. It inverts the title of the earlier film which focused on Bush’s much criticized war on terror.

One thing I liked "Fahrenheit 11-9" is that unlike some die hard liberal Dems, Trump justifiably allocates some blame to members of his own party. When the water was contaminated by the policies of Flint Michigan conservatives, instead of providing financial support to the sick populace, Obama appeared for a photo op and told people that water was fine (it was found to contain dangerously high amounts of lead).

Moore also criticizes how the super delegate system and how DNC trickery “stole” the nomination from Bernie Sanders. Moore even criticizes himself for going easy on Trump when he appeared with him on the Rosanne talk show. Some on the left would rather forget these unpleasant truths, but their inclusion in the film elevates the film and makes it more even handed.

Moore also draws parallels between today’s America and the dystopian Handmaid’s Tale. He argues that like the characters in the series, he often thinks about when the exact point of time that we started towards totalitarianism, and he even makes the bold claim that Trump might be our last elected president.

The film ends with some inspiring stories of unlikely and newer candidates succeeding that truly represent the left (unlike many neoliberals) that have recently claimed victories. He seems to be suggesting that the future of the party rests in these candidates rather than the corporate worshipping machine that often calls the shots in the current Democratic Party, so the downbeat film ends with a bit of hope.

Directed/Written by:  Michael Moore
Starring:   Roger Ailes, Brooke Baldwin, Ashleigh Banfield
Released:  092118
Length: 128 minutes
Rating:   Rated R for some disturbing language, material, and images

For more writings by Vittorio Carli go to www.artinterviews.org
and www.chicagopoetry.org

FAHRENHEIT 11-9  ©  2018 Dog Eat Dog Films
Review © 2018 Alternate Reality, Inc.