Fahrenheit 9/11 is a movie-documentary created by director, screenwriter, and producer Michael Moore – also other movie-documentaries like Roger & Me and Bowling for Columbine (Levine) – following some issues and events that led to the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001 when alleged terrorist aircrafts crashed on the Twin Towers.
The film is a condemnation of the Bush administration. From personal insights, interviews, and in depth research, Moore was able to capture the issues and events endorsed by Bush that eventually led to the 9/11 attacks. (Marques & Fengkov) For this reason, the film has harbored mixed reactions from the viewers, just like the differences between individuals who support the republican government and those who oppose the conservative rule by advocating for democracy and liberalism.
Perhaps what made the film captivating was Moore’s passion that can be felt all throughout the film. If it were not for his strength, courage, and determination to endure the film-making process and push through despite the sensitivity of the film’s content, the film would not have been able to capture the spirit of putting together a film that aims to unclutter the deception that the Bush administration has managed to weave for its constituents.
From the seemingly unsympathetic and rather belated response of Bush to the 9/11 attacks from the time he heard of it in one of the events he participated in an elementary school, Moore exposes various facts and information, as well as presents a rational or logical take on his personal views and conspiracy theories which aims to taint the image and reputation of Bush during that time. Moore manages to attack Bush’s presidency while at the same time urge or persuade the film’s viewers to acknowledge the valuable content of the movie-documentary. (Sterrit)
Although the basic foundation and material used to establish the film was potent in itself, some critics say that Moore could have done so much more in order to strengthen the persuasive power of the film, particularly on its latter parts. Marques, Fengkov, and Levine all seem to agree that the Moore’s “personalism” behind his drive to produce such a controversial film drove him to miss out on other aspects or dimensions that might have strengthened the capability of the film to draw more viewers on its side. Some parts of the film were devoted for Moore to air his personal opinions and theories, and some of these quirks overshadowed strapping truths. Some critics saw them as plain blathers, rambles or nitpicks that are more personal rather than critically radical and revolutionary.
In addition, Moore failed to stick to a single direction which purposefully aims to attack Bush’s administration. Some of the issues discussed, although significant, were incoherent and untimely, such as the introduction of the situation in Iraq which focused on the loss of one family over one individual who got killed in Iraq, or the reiteration of the unemployment rate which greatly affects the socio-economic situations of the country’s citizens, etc. On the other hand, the strength of the film lies on the substantial facts and information presented by Moore on Bush’s life as the president of the U.S. as well as the kind of lifestyle that his family leads. (Levine)
Levine also adds that the success of the film, as defined by the awards and nominations it garnered from numerous film award-giving bodies and the number of individuals who saw the film, is attributed to Moore’s ability to capture the seriousness of the issues while at the same time incorporate hilarity and make his work an almost-parody type of film in order to capture the attention of his viewers.
Like every other documentaries, Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” purposefully aims to present to its viewers the reality behind political charades and deceits. However, one critic pointed out the Moore’s piece of reality obtained a great audience because the issue presented was something that everyone is concerned about.
It is not only a matter of criticizing Bush as the leader of the U.S. but also warning sign for other nations to determine whether their political governments and leaders are working according to the standards and guidelines set forth by constitutional laws as well as ethical or moral beliefs and practices as well as the needs, demands and expectations of their constitutions. In addition, the kind of government that America leads also influences every other nation through international and trade policies being implemented as maneuvered by “the most powerful man on earth,” the president of the United States of America. (LaSalle)
Perhaps the historical significance of the film is revealed by how leaders can make or break the future of their nation and how the consequences of their actions create a ripple effect on international situations and events. (Marques & Fengkov) In this case, it was Bush’s political maneuvers and decisions that consequently lead to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center which killed hundreds of people causing the whole world to mourn and dread the unfortunate date.
With this in mind, I would have to agree. Moore’s movie-documentary was not only entertaining but also enlightening. When such a terrible thing happens, such as the 9/11 terrorist attack, which could have been avoided since it is the product of the interplay between the wills and decisions of men, who do we blame? Surely, the demise of societies and nations are not inherent, rather born by the hands of men that lead and control them.
LaSalle, Mick. (2004). “Persuasive and Passionate. Fahrenheit 9/11 is Both. It’s also Michael Moore’s Best Film.” Retrieved from Hearst Communications Inc. 01 Jan 2009. <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/06/24/DDG357AP2J1.DTL&type=movies>.
Levine, David. (2004). “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Retrieved from Filmcritic.com by Christopher Hull. 01 Jan 2009. <http://www.filmcritic.com/misc/emporium.nsf/reviews/Fahrenheit-911>.
Marques, Sandrine & Fengkov, Moland. (N.D.) “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Retrieved from La Plume Noire. 01 Jan 2009. <http://www.plume-noire.com/movies/reviews/fahrenheit911.html>.
Sterrit, David. (2004). “George W. and Me.” Retrieved from The Christian Science
Monitor. 01 Jan 2009. <http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0625/p14s02-almo.html>.
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