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|Movie Review by Denise |
July 3rd, 2007
The Attack-o is underway . . .
But you should just see for yourself, as once again, Michael Moore's brilliant editing and clever use of music has made a film that goes beyond documentary-- it's docutainment. As is his trademark, certain things are taken too far (the tribute by the Cuban firefighters to the American rescue workers & the long, loving scenes in France are this film's leaving-photo-at-Heston's-house moments), but overall the juxtapositions are well done while still being obvious. Much of the beauty of Moore's pathos is that it's not tricky; we know that he's tugging our heartstrings, and therefore it's not manipulation. He seemed to keep himself behind the scenes a bit more than his previous films, which was probably a good choice. He's in a union; he's got great insurance.
Even if you haven't yet seen the film, you've certainly by now heard about the man who lost two of his fingertips and had a difficult choice to make, and the toddler who seized and died because her mother took her to the "wrong" hospital ER. I will spare you details here, mainly because I'm glad I'd seen no scenes or heard much about it before I saw it at a sneak preview, and I find that's a big part of the joy with Moore's films. You don't know what's coming next-- a sale on nuclear missiles? A woman knocking out & then skinning a rabbit? Bush mixing up a silly old cliche and Who lyrics? Who knows! What you do know is that you'll be on an emotional roller coaster, laughing one minute, queasy the next, wanting to slug a Republican next . . . as far as the ride goes, SiCKO delivers.
Earlier today I received an email of Kurt Loder's article bashing SiCKO (Loder still works for MTV? Loder still works?), and the ironic part was that he did in his article exactly what he bashes Moore for-- taking a few isolated incidents and attempting to engage his audience in those incidents enough to care & take a side, even if the incidents are special and not the norm. Loder speaks of long waits in Canada for surgeries. This is supposed to discount the entire message of SiCKO? How could the fact that Canada has a waitlist convince me that I have a good healthcare plan? Umm, it just can't.
What we should take away from SiCKO is that we should demand healthcare. For everyone. We should not be convinced that Canada's system is perfect. And Moore is in no way suggesting we grab onto Canada's system and make it our own. The fact is, with as many brilliant and ingenious Americans there are, we can come up with a system that works for us, perhaps even better than what Canada's got going. Ah, if only Hillary had had her chance.
Moore points out that nobody finds socialized schools and fire departments particularly commie or scary, so why have we been so effectively convinced that socialized healthcare is pinko and un-American? (I will go against my promise to leave surprises to come and say that it all goes back to Tricky Dicky. The Nixon tapes Moore found and plays for us are so sad and so filled with Nixon-style corruption the only thing the audience could do was gasp). The truth is that a wealthy society should provide healthcare for its people, just as it provides schools, fire fighters and police.
With Moore's usual doses of humor, juxtaposition, interviews with people who could be our neighbors, sass, and clever music choices, the time Moore took to make this documentary was clearly well used: SiCKO reinforces my belief that Moore is one hell of a filmmaker.
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