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Bowling For Columbine
featuring: Michael Moore, George W. Bush, Dick Clark, Charlton Heston, and Marilyn Manson

writer and director: Michael Moore

115 minutes (15) 2002
widescreen ratio 16:9
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 10/10
reviewed by Robin Landry
While most documentaries spell boredom in the eyes of moviegoers, Bowling For Columbine is anything but boring. Michael Moore is a smart guy who makes intriguing movies about real life. Moore is especially effective when he lets the questions he asks speak for themselves. We humans don't like to be told things. Instead we like to think that we come up with answers all by ourselves. That's why Bowling For Columbine hits the spot. Moore doesn't preach, he just asks the questions.
   So why is our crime rate so high? Politicians blame musicians, so Moore asks one of the musicians most reviled by parents for his opinion. Marilyn Manson points out that television commercials fill us with the fear of inadequacy so that we'll buy the products being advertised. So who's to blame for laying more fear on us? Brilliant advertisers who reach millions of households a day, or Marilyn Manson who is probably only heard by hundreds, or maybe a few thousand at a time in concert? Parents tell their children to solve their problems by talking and working things out, yet our government bombs countries that might disagree with our current policy. Moore lists our interference with other governments around the world starting in the early 1950s. It's plain to see why we are now reaping the seed we have sown in the past with our own killing of innocents.
   What struck me, as more than a little ironic, was that Columbine High School was only a short distance away from an air force base that specialised in making bombs, some 20 percent of which were dropped during the first Gulf War. It was more than a little frightening to realise that the Columbine massacre happened with an hour of our bombing of Kosovo. Something that was never brought up by the mass media yet this same press will examine the motivation of Scott Peterson ad nauseum.
   The security cameras at Columbine, which record that dreadful day, are heartbreaking to watch. To see the students dive under desks in the library, only to have the shooters come in and start shooting at them was chilling. In the background you could hear the 911 calls. You could hear a father demanding to know where his daughter was and why no one anyone helping. While I watched the coverage of the Columbine shootings, never once did I hear reporters ask the questions Moore does in Bowling For Columbine. Maybe we'd find the answers as to why these type of things happen if we had reporters as smart as Moore, asking the hard questions.
   Moore's interview with John Nichols, the brother of Terry Nichols, was downright scary. Here is a man who sleeps with a loaded gun under his pillow and warns us of the nutcases out there. I hope Moore was packing some heat when he went door to door in Flakesville. Before watching the movie myself, I had heard that Bowling For Columbine was an antigun movie, yet after watching it, I have to disagree. This movie asks why we Americans are so trigger-happy, not why we own guns. Lots of countries with violent histories allow their citizens to own guns, yet percentage-wise, we kill each other hundreds of times more than any other country on the face of the Earth. England has about 165 gun-related homicides a year; Canada nearly 70 a year; and Germany nearly 400 a year; while we have over 11,000. Moore himself, is a long time member of the NRA and yet the same organisation, hates him passionately. Charlton Heston, the current president of the NRA, never answered the question of why NRA rallies were held in the same cities within days of two of the school shootings. It seemed more than just a little insensitive, and couldn't be explained by Heston, though the man was gracious enough to give Moore an interview.
   Moore deserved and won an Oscar for this film, yet in a better world, there would be no need for Moore's work because our press would ask these questions everyday. Reporters need to take heed. Maybe there's a Pulitzer out there for the taking, if only some brave reporter asks the right questions.
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