Film Reviews

FAHRENHEIT 9/11

By • Jun 26th, 2004 •

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Dog Eat Dog Films and Wild Bunch
MPAA rating – ‘R’ / Running time — 120 minutes

QUOTE: It is a punishing, brilliantly executed indictment.

“I can make men die for little pieces of ribbon.” Napoleon

If the attacks of 9/11 took five years of planning, how many people knew it was coming? Are we supposed to believe only 19 hijackers, bin Laden, and his top lieutenants knew? Did the House of Saudi know an attack on U.S. soil was being prepared? If they did, what was in it for them?

Michael Moore has the numbers but no answers: the Saudis are heavily invested in the U.S.

Moore leaves these questions aside but effectively lays out his argument – that 9/ll was a good excuse for invading Iraq – in a boldly entertaining fashion.

As you already know, Michael Moore’s new film is a brutally clever, harsh, and persuasive attack on George W. Bush and his family’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia. He begins with the 2000 presidential election. The Bush machine stole the 2000 election from Al Gore. Whose votes were discounted? Florida voters from poor, black communities.

I’d seen footage of President Bush at an elementary school on 9/11. He proceeded to do the photo op even after being told about the first plane hitting one of the World Trade towers. I have never seen the rest of the footage. Bush just sits there, takes a children’s book and then appears to be reading it. Moore clocks the footage. TV news organizations have cut the footage down since Bush looks foolish.

Moore has absolutely no respect for President Bush and by using news footage indicts him as a man who would rather be on vacation on his ranch than running a country. He does like the perks of the presidency. He calls very wealthy people his “base.” And taking a country to war, invading another country, and disposing of a dictator are far more impressive historical achievements than being remembered for sleazy, unreciprocated sex with an intern or granting a presidential pardon to a thief. I’ll say this for George W, he finally surpassed his Dad. Young men are dying because of him. A country has been reduced to rubble because of him. In the past he would have been called George the Conqueror or George the Bloodthirsty.

Our war in Iraq immediately bumped media coverage of the Enron-WorldCom scandal. With reporters embedded with troops, it was the perfect media-friendly war. I know: since 9/11 I have had 3 TV’s on continuously. No matter where I am in the house, I’m covered.

Through a sarcastic, very funny commentary on news footage laced with archival movie and TV clips and stills, Moore lays out his theory. Going after bin Laden in Afghanistan was never really pursued rigorously since there were no sexy targets except pre-medieval villages and mountains. You can’t bomb mud huts and brag about it. Where were all the news reporters going to sleep and watch TV? Are there Internet cafes in Kabul?

So, according to Moore, and to support Bush’s buddies getting enormous government reconstruction contracts, the U.S. used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq. I have to say I believed all the hype about the cruel Butcher of Baghdad. In fact, I was shocked when such a ruthless, evil dictator did not use his arsenal of WMD’s right at his airport on Invasion Day One. Why would he ship his WMD’s to Syria as U.S. soldiers were destroying his palaces? Perhaps Saddam was just a bully hanging on by a thin wet thread.

As the story moves to the war in Iraq, Moore drops the clever juxtaposition of images and funny commentary. The footage he shows of the carnage of war is devastating.

Moore keeps out of the way for most of FAHRENHEIT 9/11. He wisely lets his carefully structured story speak for itself. It is not objective but neither has been the news coverage of the War on Terrorism and our real reason for invading Iraq. Moore’s message is very clear: the rich are in white tails while it is the poor black kids who are recruited at malls to join the military and perhaps die for their country.


CREDITS:
Screenwriter/Director: Michael Moore
Producers: Kathleen Glynn, Jim Czarnecki
Director of photography: Mike Desjarlais
Music: Jeff Gibbs
Editors: Kurt Engfehr, Christopher Seward, T. Woody Richman

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