Fahrenheit 9/11 - ****
Originally reviewed 7/22/04
As I watched this documentary, I thought, "What a devastating piece of filmmaking." How right the jury was Cannes to award this film the Palme D'Or. As I left the theater, I was really upset and disturbed. The film had touched a nerve.
I'd read Michael Moore's book, Dude, where's my country? which has a lot of the same information as this film. But there's something about seeing a mother crying over the death of her child. There's something about seeing President Bush shaking hands with Saudi friends and making pathetic political comments to his "base." There's something about seeing dead Iraqi babies being thrown into pickup trucks. There's something about seeing American forces break into an Iraqi house in the middle of the night, scaring the hell out of old women.
And then there are the revelations:
- That Bush's first cousin, John Ellis, a Fox News consultant, called the 2000 Presidential Election for Bush after all the other networks had called it for Gore.
- That the Saudis have $860 billion invested in the U.S. economy (the GDP of Spain).
- That American companies like Halliburton and The Carlyle Group profited greatly from the Iraqi war.
- That Bush authorized flights for the Bin Laden family back to Saudi Arabia when all commercial air transportation was shut down. The list goes on and on.
Fahrenheit 9/11 takes a complicated subject and strips away the layers of complexity: All these wars, all these connections with Bin Laden and the Saudis, all this deception, it's really all about money. And as this epiphany washed over me, I was reminded of Network, the most prescient film ever made (it predicted reality TV). There's a scene in the movie where the CEO of the network, Jensen, proselytizes to the Howard Beale character:
"There are no nations! There are no peoples! ... There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars... It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet! That is the natural order of things today!... There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT and T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today."
I hope everyone in America goes to see this film. There are a lot of people who are still asleep, who need to wake up to the reality of what this administration has done with its power--to the world and to the people in America.
One of my neighbors recently came over and said that Fahrenheit 9/11 looked interesting, but that he thought Moore didn't know what he's talking about. I handed over my copy of Dude, where's my country, and showed him the footnotes throughout the first chapter. He asked if he could borrow the book. Now I'm going to recommend that he go see this film.
You should see it, too.
Note - If you're unsure of the facts of this movie, check out this link: "Fahrenheit 9/11 Facts"
Postscript - 11/3/13
In 2011, I met Michael Moore at my work. Read my blog about this encounter.