Heating up emotions
Since Rick wrote his review first and took the “safe” way out by mostly sticking to summary, I see little option but to talk about the more heated, emotional side of “Fahrenheit 911.”Plenty of reviewers have debated the politics, and a couple have questioned filmmaker Michael Moore’s reliability. But I haven’t heard much discussion about the raw emotion Moore provokes with his latest documentary.Through precise editing, Moore manipulates audiences to sit through an emotional roller coaster ride ranging from disbelief and outrage to upset and disillusionment.
I’m not going to argue the validity of his footage – whether President George W. Bush is a blathering idiot with ties to Osama Bin Laden, or whether staunch military supporter Lila Lipscomb naturally changes her attitude and resentfully storms Washington D.C. after her son dies in Iraq – because I can’t prove it. I’m more interested in how “Fahrenheit 911” affects people’s hearts.Moore masterfully edits scenes for maximum impact. He films a child in Baghdad gliding down a slide but interrupts the scene with war explosions. He records a pumped up American soldier saying war is the ultimate adrenaline rush. Then he shows a child in Baghdad with a blown-up arm.
People may contend it’s necessary to take sides or at least decipher the validity of Moore’s assertions. But I think the emotional truth he presents is just as important – maybe even more so – than the details.It’s more comfortable to walk out of the documentary blaming Bush for the woes of the nation or calling Moore a biased zealot. It’s extremely uncomfortable to delay intellectual analysis and simply sit with the emotions “Fahrenheit 9/11” stirs.By the time Lipscomb reads the letter her son sent before his death, Moore has primed the emotional pump. Near the end, he hammers his point home about poverty-stricken Americans signing up to defend the very system that keeps them impoverished.
Moore matches his intense message with sarcasm and quick messages – from the opening riff of “Cocaine” when he reads Bush’s military records to a newscaster commenting it’s a nasty day (because it’s raining) on Bush’s inauguration.In the end, I left deeply disturbed, disillusioned and confused. I can only hope it profoundly affects others – because if we truly feel how disturbing recent events have been, we can foster more compassion and help change our world.Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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