Fahrenheit 9/11
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Michael Moore
with Michael Moore, George W Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, John Ashcroft, Richard Clarke, Al Gore, James Baker, Larry King, Ricky Martin, Britney Spears
release US 25.Jun.04, UK 9.Jul.04
Lions Gate
04/US 2h02

Above: Bush reads to schoolchildren for seven minutes after being informed of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th. Below: Congressman John Tanner with Moore.

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Fahrenheit 9/11 There's a surprisingly emotional tone to filmmaker Moore's examination of the current American government's record over the past four years. Not only does he find the human face amid the political outrage, but you can feel his own deep sadness as he perceives his own country becoming a global villain as it creates an increasingly unstable world.

And yes, this is a documentary! Every word and image is thoroughly fact-checked, then assembled like any movie (or newscast) to tell a specific story. Moore actually shows remarkable restraint, merely asking questions without jumping to spurious conclusions. He also stays out of the film until the end, when he door-steps congressmen with an unusual, telling question. Sure, he does go over the top a couple of times, especially when reinforcing the Bush-Saudi connection through clips of Bush and company with various unnamed Arabs. But even here he succeeds in raising an important issue.

The film works best in strongly personal interviews with people affected by events from the 11 September attacks to the Iraq invasion. Soldiers, their families and Iraqis themselves are all here, combined with irrefutable archive footage to paint a much larger and more disturbing picture. Moore's examination of the Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the realities of budget cuts are strong enough without everything else around them! But there is plenty more. Such as pre-9/11 footage of both US officials and life in Iraq that contradicts everything we've been told since.

This extremely well-assembled film has value on so many levels that it simply demands to be seen. It throws open the door to a wide spectrum of irregularities and covered-up truths. It unveils shocking evidence powerful people don't want us to see. And it offers a strong insight into the American mind, becoming Moore's patriotic lament for a world gone horribly off the rails. It's impossible to know how Bush supporters will react, if they actually dare to see it. They'll probably dismiss it as a pack of lies. But sadly, it so clearly isn't.

cert 15 themes, language, war violence and gore 1.Jul.04

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Fahrenheit 9/11 Mike McC, USA: "I really enjoyed the movie. It wasn't as entertaining as Bowling For Columbine, but it's an equally important film. I'd seen a few news segments trying to discredit it by showing segments the filmmaker took out of context. And I hadn't been impressed with Michael Moore's speech at the Academy Awards in 2003. So I went in expecting to have issues with it. That said, I really can't say that I do. Let's face it, George W has begged for scrutiny since he was elected. Was he even elected? I was afraid the movie would be anti-American. That it was something that was going to convince my friends in Paris that Americans suck. But it doesn't do that at all. Quite the opposite, actually. It merely shows how George W has duped the American people, including our government. In fact, I hope that terrorists see this movie. I'm sure they'll still hate us and our way of life, but I can't help but suspect that they might hate us a bit less if they saw this movie. We've been duped and even the most respected of the media have helped George W carry on this charade, barely ever attempting to call our attention to many of the shocking facts that Moore presents. We can't let the powers that be abuse their power. The information has to get out there. And if you don't like Michael Moore's sensationalism or attitude, that's fine. But We need him. Nobody else dares to present this information to us." (2.Jul.04)
2004 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall