Movie Review:THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT AND FAHRENHEIT 9/11. ONE WILL CHANGE CINEMA AND MAYBE POLITICAL REPORTING AND THE OTHER WILL NOT. WHY?
THE HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT AND FAHRENHEIT 9/11.
ONE WILL CHANGE CINEMA AND MAYBE POLITICAL REPORTING AND THE OTHER WILL NOT. WHY?
These two films are excellent political documentaries. One is a historical account about the failure of the media in regard to President Clinton and the other is a real time challenge to Bush the younger. Both are worthy, very worthy of being seen. However millions will see one and the other will be seen only by a few hundred thousand. Why? Well timing for one thing. Fahrenheit 9/11 is about a president running for re-election and Hunting is about a president in retirement. Which one should you see? See them both because they both constitute exhibit A regarding the polarization-taking place in this country. This polarization occurred not because the left moved further left but because the extreme right wing has taken over the Republican Party.
The Hunting of the President is well done and appeals more to the reason and works with a ball peen hammer on your senses while Fahrenheit is not as tight factually but comes in with a sledge hammer on the psyche. However it’s arguments are powerful with emotional footage to back them up. Moore doesn’t like the way the Bush regime operates and is willing to play rough to get his point across. That’s Michael Moore’s style and it works well. Hunting is more talking heads with inserts from old movies to emphasize a point and to make a weak thrust at humor. However in the end it is a historical documentary about the past. It makes a case for wrongdoing but offers no solutions. Fahrenheit is about now and the future and offers a solution. That is why millions are going to see it.
Moore is an incredible marketer of documentaries and he is dragging the form kicking and screaming into the mainstream. Indeed his film is playing in pop cinema houses while Hunting is in the art houses. How did Moore do this? Moore’s film is definitely more now and more confrontational. For example Moore shoots himself asking Members of Congress to sign up their children to fight in Iraq. The Congressmen look at him like he is nuts. He also created controversy about freedom of speech in regard to his film, always a dynamic and attention getting issue, because he made Disney’s refusal to release one of their own films look like suppression of his film. Disney the owner of his producer, Miramax, was put in the awkward position of not wanting to distribute so as not to irritate the Bush administration. So with the help of the Weinstein Brothers this was blown up into a major story as if his film was truly not going find a distributor. In the end it was distributed by Lions Gate a Canadian distributor. The day when the Weinsteins can’t get a film distributed will be the day Rupert Murdock has finally bought the American media lock, stock and barrel. Then through the Weinstein’s magic it also won the Palm D’Or, France’s best picture award. Michael Moore is making the documentary film a here and now experience. Hunting is an explanation after the fact while Fahrenheit is a polemic taking a heated position in the current debate. That’ s why he may change the current cinema for the better. It is also symbolic of the failure of television news to report on politics in a meaningful way.
How many documentaries challenge the status quo as it is happening in so powerful a fashion? Not many if any. Hunting tells how a weak and biased mainline media failed in the reporting of the Whitewater, Paula Jones, Vince Foster, Monica Lewinsky and Kenneth Starr stories.
Michael Moore is not waiting for the mainline media to tell his story he going directly to the public. This will change cinema, politics, political reporting and media coverage of events forever. It can also be looked upon as a direct consequence of the media’s failure to report on William Clinton’s Presidency responsibly and accurately and the failure of mainstream television like Fox News to report accurately and the remainder of the networks to report fully and effectively on politics.
Men like Michael Moore are not going to let what happened to Clinton and the 2000 election happen again. Thank God there is someone out there who is unwilling to take it any more and knows what to do about it.