(2002) dir. Michael Moore
It took me long enough to get around to finally seeing this film. It was definitely one of those films that I had meant to get to see in its theatrical run, which ended up lasting almost to its DVD release date. Still, this is a simple fact of life that I am quite used to…that I simply see most of the films that I see on DVD at home.
Believe it or not, I have never seen Moore’s breakthrough film, Roger & Me (1989) and went into this film without having really seen him in action, outside of interviews. The thing that surprised me the most about Bowling for Columbine is how Michael Moore personalizes the subjects that sprawl throughout this film. Tracing connections to the Columbine massacre back to Michigan, Moore’s home state, and reflecting on another tragic shooting that occurred only a couple of years later in Flint, MI, helps to shape the material into something subjective but emotionally centered.
I think that one of the most profound things about this film is its commercial success. The market for Moore’s commentary is probably largely a group that essentially agrees with his views, for whom the film is an eloquent affirmation, enlightening in respect to certain facts, comments, and instances, but whom largely already totally agree. A film that speaks from such a clearly political slant seems like it might be more interesting to see with someone more prone to disagreeing with the arguments than simply nodding along. That said, I think that the intention here was that more than just “nodding along” that it might hopefully ignite some outrage as well.
In the end, though, this film might more be remembered for showing Charlton Heston as a doddering racist and Marilyn Manson as well-spoken and intelligent.