Sunday, July 8, 2007


I inherently have an issue reviewing blatantly agenda driven movies, and nobody is more obviously agenda driven than Michael Moore. Each one of his movies is even more so than the last. I wasn't necessarily able to escape this feeling during Sicko, Moore's investigation into the American Health Care Industry, but it didn't bother me as much as it did in Fahrenheit 9/11. Unlike most documentaries, even if you don't agree with what he has to say, you still might actually enjoy this movie.

Moore molds this movie in the same style that he always has. Included are his interspersed animations, lampooning of government figures, and his man-on-the-street confrontations. Not to mention his build up of hypocrisies found in opposing arguments. Moore, as always, comes across as the smart-ass elitist who knows that knows more than everyone else. Unfortunately, his now unmistakable narratives seems forced in this outing. They lacked the smug wit that seem to be underlying his other works.

I feel like I've seen this movie before, except just with different topics. All of his movies seem to follow the same formula, just changing out the data, but if it works, why not? It's just that nothing he tells is really shocking anymore. One of the reactions that really made his previous movies.

Interestingly, in Sicko, Moore spent much of the time abroad- comparing the health care systems of Canada, France, and Great Britain to the American system. These segments were certainly interesting, and fairly convincing. Perhaps I just enjoyed these foreigners laughing at Moore's (and suppose the rest of America's) expense.

Of course the movie was filled with personal testimonies from people who have been slighted by insurance companies, forced to forgo important procedures, and choose between medications. More important than these, however, were the interviews with industry insiders, who had spent years developing procedures to deny people care. Some of these segments were very telling.

It would not be a Michael Moore movie unless he engaged in major confrontation. This time he actually took this aspect much further than any time before. After hearing about the health care suspected terrorists were receiving, he chartered several boats to take people to Guantanamo Bay to try to get treated. Without giving away too much of what happened- even the Cuban health care system was portrayed in a glowing light.

Surprisingly (and refreshingly), Moore did not focus on much politically. Only briefly did he talk about insurance lobbyists in the government, and only mentioned 9/11 a few times (when talking about the health problems suffered by clean-up workers). Certainly this movie wasn't flawless, and I think it could have benefited from a little more time spent in organization and writing, but it wasn't bad. Despite the fact that there's nothing unbiased found in this movie, it's still a pretty decent documentary.

Watch the Trailer


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