I've been asked a few times if I've seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet, with the implication that OF COURSE I am planning to see it. Luckily we do not live in a country where films are required viewing, although if Leelee Sobieski had her way, it would be so. (Based on the weekend box office, I thought Spider-Man 2 was afforded that title.) Needless to say that Ms. Sobieski has cemented herself as the poster-child for half-wits.
Although this film has been viewed by some as a moral imperative, and by some as a democratic duty to inform yourself of all sides, and by some as reprehensible filmmaking, I just haven't had much desire to see it. Like The Passion of the Christ, it is one man's mythology, or presentation of 'truth', come to the screen, pandering to the feeblest mind or most ardent supporter. And unfortunately, it is done by Michael Moore, who brought you such films as Bowling for the truth and hey-did-anyone-see-me-drop-my-pants-at-the-Oscars? The guy pretends to be a serious filmmaker, but in reality his films are one-sided polemics, sadly in need of fact-checking, and the man himself is what I lightly refer to as 'pathetic scum'. I have as much desire to put money in this man's pocket or validate his pseudo-documentaries as I do to join a church.
Vanity Fair contributor Christopher Hitchens' revealing commentary on the film is eye-opening. Well, at least for those who don't currently have them open. There are plenty of reasons to read the entire piece, and although he takes apart Farenheit 9/11's 'logic' piece-by-piece, this excerpt best sums up my objections:
- Some people soothingly say that one should relax about all this. It's only a movie. No biggie. It's no worse than the tomfoolery of Oliver Stone. It's kick-ass entertainment. It might even help get out "the youth vote." Yeah, well, I have myself written and presented about a dozen low-budget made-for-TV documentaries, on subjects as various as Mother Teresa and Bill Clinton and the Cyprus crisis, and I also helped produce a slightly more polished one on Henry Kissinger that was shown in movie theaters. So I know, thanks, before you tell me, that a documentary must have a "POV" or point of view and that it must also impose a narrative line. But if you leave out absolutely everything that might give your "narrative" a problem and throw in any old rubbish that might support it, and you don't even care that one bit of that rubbish flatly contradicts the next bit, and you give no chance to those who might differ, then you have betrayed your craft. If you flatter and fawn upon your potential audience, I might add, you are patronizing them and insulting them. By the same token, if I write an article and I quote somebody and for space reasons put in an ellipsis like this (…), I swear on my children that I am not leaving out anything that, if quoted in full, would alter the original meaning or its significance. Those who violate this pact with readers or viewers are to be despised. At no point does Michael Moore make the smallest effort to be objective. At no moment does he pass up the chance of a cheap sneer or a jeer. He pitilessly focuses his camera, for minutes after he should have turned it off, on a distraught and bereaved mother whose grief we have already shared. (But then, this is the guy who thought it so clever and amusing to catch Charlton Heston, in Bowling for Columbine, at the onset of his senile dementia.) Such courage.
UPDATE: Yet another review of digust. Lies, lies, lies.