Monday, March 7, 2011

Movie of the Week - Bowling for Columbine

This week’s movie is Bowling for Columbine (2002).

The documentary (if you want to call it that) takes a look at the root cause of America’s gun related murders being much higher (as a % of the population) than any other comparable country (i.e. Japan, Germany, France, U.K., Canada, Australia). The film is written and directed by Michael Moore (back when he still made ‘good’ films; Roger & Me and The Big One are also both really good pseudo-documentaries). What makes the film great is Moore’s style of combining interviews with stock footage, cartoons, and other material to create a strong narrative. Much more than many documentaries and their filmmakers, Moore is able to take his subject a present it in a very entertaining manner. However, this cannot be taken as a true documentary either. Moore is the master at using shot and found material to craft the story he wants to tell, slanted heavily to his agenda (something that while clearly prevalent in this film, does not hurt or discredit it nearly as much as Moore’s later work in which his editing for a particular purpose is much more blatant and forced). Here, Moore raises interesting questions and seems to be onto something. While the story does not answer the questions it poises, it certainly is critical of the likely culprits. All in all, it does raise good and interesting questions and gives some insight into why in America we shoot each other more often than any other developed country. The film won the 2003 Oscar for Best Documentary. Check out the trailer.

Available on DVD and to Rent

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