Hopeless and inspiring
Arts and Entertainment Editor
Talk about conflicts of interest.
The connection revealed in Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” between the Bin Laden family, the Bush family and the Saudis is enough to make George Washington roll over in his grave. In the film, civil service takes a back seat to the president’s greed every time the opportunity arises.
“Fahrenheit 9/11” opened Friday at the Cascade Theatre in Vail. And whether or not you agree with Moore’s agenda, the film undeniably stimulates thought and emotion. You leave the theater questioning what you’ve been told and what you think you know. You might also leave feeling a bit hopeless, or inspired to take better control of your own government.
The film begins with the election debacle of 2000, ushers you through Bush’s presidency leading up to Sept. 11, 2001, revisits the horror of 911 and explores the war in Iraq. President Bush’s conflicts of interest are scattered throughout, be it with energy companies, defense companies, money managers or Saudi Arabia.
The segment of Sept. 11, 2001, is tasteful. Fearful that I would have to witness the planes crash into the Word Trade Center again, I was glad to see Moore using a different approach. The screen fades black, and you just listen to the tragedy. When images return to the screen, they are silent. The immediate reactions of New Yorkers as they watch the first and second planes make contact are much more powerful without the sound.
In fact, the film from a cinematic standpoint is extremely creative. The juxtaposition of old western music with images of President Bush, shots of actual government documents, illustrated diagrams and political leaders’ soundbites that contradict each other from year to year effectively convey the film’s message. You remember almost everything Moore uncovers.
Granted, some soundbites are out of context, and the attitudes revealed in interviews with the U.S. soldiers in Iraq are one-sided. But what is most admirable about Moore is his initiative to seize democracy, wrestle it to the ground and make it his own. Imagine if every Joe Schmo in America questioned and researched the answers to statements that mainstream media has spoon-fed us. Politicians would be running for the hills.
Whether you dispute every fact, statistic or statement made in “Fahrenheit 9/11,” or you will return to the theater more than once to see it, the film is a reminder of the greatest gift this country has to offer ” freedom of speech. Only in America would Moore be able to criticize the president in a two and half hour documentary. And only in the United States could Moore gain access to the information he uses to form his argument. Democracy is truly special; by making this film Moore is handing the responsibility to the American people to protect it.