By Shane Soderland
Michael Moore’s latest documentary “Fahrenheit 11/9” offers a scattershot portrait of American people and politics. The film illustrates American politics as a black hole of status quo and showcases the spirit of the nation’s citizens.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” presents itself like an expose on the Trump administration from the start, but leaves room to discuss how we got here, much to its own detriment.
The film details social and political issues, such as health care reform, school shootings and the broken political system, yet they feel unnecessarily tacked on to the advertised Trump narrative.
Moore’s biting social commentary and sharp wit can be seen throughout the film. His trademark blue collar sarcasm is utilized to full effect in his latest directorial effort. Moore spares nobody, holding all ends of the spectrum accountable for Trump’s presidency: political figures, voters, even Gwen Stefani is implicated for directly influencing Trump’s campaign.
Unafraid to blame himself and others for being friendly with now unsavory individuals, Moore’s display of nonpartisanship is commendable. Unfortunately, Moore takes numerous cheap digs at right-wing politics towards the second act, which goes against his take-no-prisoners mentality from the onset.
The film is ambitious — it attempts to link various political matters to Trump, which is reasonable considering how chaos tends to enshroud the Trump administration, but it sloppily and frantically draws its connections to POTUS.
Moore trails off topic several times, including an unnecessary segment implicating Trump of having an incestuous relationship with his daughter. His usually crisp editing doesn’t work towards transitioning from one idea to the next; instead, it’s used for cheap visual and auditory gags, such as a segment showing Trump’s words overlaid at a Hitler rally.
The film hits its stride when Moore settles down in Flint, Michigan to focus on the community’s water crisis. Moore targets Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for his hand in the matter — going as far to make a citizen’s arrest.
It’s arguable that Moore wanted to make a film about Snyder, given his passion for the sequences involving him, and this focus makes Trump feel like an afterthought.
Moore periodically makes assumptions regarding intent without sources to support hisassertions, which speaks against his impartiality and professionalism.
For instance, Moore affirms that Snyder’s hand in Flint’s water crisis was raciallymotivated, but he offers no evidence to that claim or several others.
I could forgive many issues with this film, but its fatal flaw is a lackluster ending that fails to go out with a bang.
It feels like Moore capitalizes on a moment in history rather than creating one of his own in the film’s climax. Moore’s ending drags two minutes too long and robs the audience of a fitting conclusion, which directly relates to his theme of activism.
Excluding me, five individuals departed the theatre promptly following the movie’s ending. A spectator voiced his opinion exiting the theatre. “Scattered!” the viewer said. “I looked up and was like ‘What?’”
These ideas could have worked, but Moore’s research and reliance on hearsay works against the film. I can’t recommend this film to general audience goers, but there is some value to its aspiration. Die-hard fans of Moore’s work will appreciate this entry nonetheless, despite it being flawed.
Contact Shane Soderland at firstname.lastname@example.org