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 Fahrenheit 9/11
 Critic's Rating
 Date Posted
   16th July, 2004
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Cast: Michael Moore, George W. Bush, Lila Lipscomb
Director: Michael Moore

Subtle and melancholy at times,a bedtime story being narrated .Activating our diminished childish instinct and  immediately intriguing, the narrator, Michael Moore has used just the right psychology to captivate the viewer not merely by his storytelling abilities,but by the story itself.Fahrenheit 9/11 is nothing more than a testament to this ingenius innovation in the genre of documentary filmaking.

The story starts out by outlining the culminating details of the controversial 2000 election campaign and focusing on the clout that George W Bush had in the infamous Florida recount.A definitive prologue by Moore that promises the viewer an enthralling ride into his world.

He immediately focused on the first eight months of the Bush administration and provides the viewer with a gripping fact.George W Bush spent 42% of his first eight months in office on vacation.An appetizer that certainly inaugurates a host of revealing scenarios that potray the blatant guile and cunning of the man that Moore wants us to see.What follows,is archived video footage of a host of activities linking the Bush family to the Bin Laden family.This is done with aplomb,Moore adding the right ingredients with almost perfect timing in laying it all out.We are presented with mesmerizing facts providing a flowchart that link Bush with a host of different wealthy Saudi families to the relationship between a friend of Bush's to the Bin Ladens and finally to the mindboggling truth that the Saudi's own 6-7% of the American economy.Moore established this by carefully detailing Bush's earlier days as a buisnessman and the various oil companies he worked for.Moore enticed the viewer,with a perfect prelude that was cliched but in the circumstances,unable to pass on.Through various angles and cutback scenes spaced out over the content in the film,Moore keeps reiterating the affiliation between the oil companies and Bush's preceding and present presendential status as well as his incentives and motives to satisfy various high scale oil companies.

As the focus inevitably shifts to the 9/11 attacks,Moore slowly takes a backseat in the tale.Some authentic facts on the Bush administration relating to the attacks begin to emerge.This production certainly is archetypal Moore as he plays each string,letting it reverberate before striking his final chord.This is where the film starts to drift away from a documentary prototype.He plays his cards out carefully and reverses them with a purpose.Firstly,it is immediately determined that Bush planned to attack Iraq in retaliation by demanding evidence that linked them in anyway with Al Qaeda and the attacks.On failing to come up with substancial proof,he had to attack Afghanistan due to obvious reasons.Moore immediately had Bush cemented as the bad guy.He then shifts the attention to Bush's imminent failure to capture Bin Laden and the various ploys his government used to deflect any sort of public scrutiny that would hinder his popularity in the polls.Fabricated terrorist threats,the U.S. Patriot's act and so on just exemplied Moore's undying desire to bring to the fore,the seemingly derogatory behaviour of the president towards his puppets.This is fairly detrimental of Moore as it was never established that the high alert security threats were infact a farce.His unbinding detest of the President is never more obvious as in the scenario where Bush is informed by his aide of the attacks and continues his photo-op reading My Pet Goat with the children on a visit to one of the schools.Moore keeps taking jibes here and provoking reactions as to what exactly the President was pondering over during his self imposed delaying of a reaction.Directorial overkill, as there is no plausible justification for any of this.Moore then bactracks to the days preceding the attacks and implies that the specified terrorist threats were ingnored and thought of as unwarranted for consideration by the Bush administration.He also places the spotlight on Bush's unwillingness to co-operate with the 9/11 investigation commission and his efforts to hold back Congress from gaining access to the intelligence relating to the attacks.Again,detail has been a crucial factor in Moore's work and it is obvious he spared no resource to ensure the validity of his proclamations when pertaining to the actual facts.

The Iraq War was a sensitive issue which Moore capitalised on wonderfully by letting footage talk for itself.He refrained for the most part,from snapping at Bush and instead took the film up to the next level.This is the essence of storytelling.The Iraq War never focused on one individual alone,instead entailing the viewer to the the tragedy and gruesomeness first hand.The families bemoaning their loss,the troops in their good times and bad,the fight for no justified reason,the failure to locate weapons of mass destruction and the contrast between political statements of the Bush administration dating back to their early days in office were all put forth in a systematic order that appealed and beckoned the viewer's imagination to the fullest possible extent.Documentary film making is a tough art in itself.Moore raised the bar in certain aspects,as he used his immensely sought after material exceptionally.With regard to his presentation of the facts,he was luminous and outstanding.

Moore also invited us to follow the journey of Lila Lipscomb,a devoted American,her son's death in the field of battle and her tearful journey to the White House.Knowing that the tale of this embattled woman was true,was simply heartrending.The concentration of military recruitments from impoverished areas was the definitive scandal.Occurances of tragedy and suffering are plentiful ranging from the raids on Iraqi homes in the dead of the night,to the American soldiers missing limbs lost in the line of fire.Moore uses a toned down effect in such instances and that could viablly certify him as the good guy.Footage of a prissy pop queen trying to come out as a Bush patronist was also thrown in for good measure.Britney Spears is no political analyst and does not hold a place in the common American society.Hence,her view was more of a hinderance than a bonus to the Bush administration.The revelation that only one child of a Congressman had enlisted in the armed forces,prompted Moore to seek out the others and implore them to do the same.This is Moore at his deadly persuasive best.It was resplendent in 'Bowling For Columbine',but even more significant here.

Bush does absolutely nothing to help his case with regard to evoking any kind of sympathy.All he does is unknowingly potray himself as the quintessential bad guy which is exactly what Moore hoped for.This is obvious in the various cutback scenes of old western films that add a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour to the film.Moore placed himself in unknown waters but came off brilliantly.Bush comes across as a fickle minded,indecisive,popularity-seeking politician who would go to any lengths to have his ideals and decisions qualified and carried out.Moore is not his usual exuberant self,rather a man out to prove that his detest and loathe for the President is justified.His constant narrative probing mixed with just the right element of humor differed from the unwritten laws of directing a documentary.The downside of this film is rather large and negative.We never get to hear both sides of the tale nor see both sides of the coin.It's a tad too one-sided which will never suffice.A Palme D'Or may be in the kitty,and directorial ingeniuity might be at its finest in spots but a one sided argument will never accurately put to rest an issue of such proporption.Patches of justification show up,but nothing to quench the viewer's obvious thirst for a rebuttal.Critics of Bush will savor this film while the faithful will definetly question the authencity of the probes and thoughts that Moore undoubtedly attempted to stream into the minds of the larger audience.He crossed some pretty steep boundaries but didnt know where to stop in an expanse of accumulated hatred.This is what demeans an otherwise fantastic directorial display. - Abhishek Dey

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