Bowling for Columbine – Review

Bowling for Columbine

with Michael Moore, Charlton Heston, Marilyn Manson
Directed and written by Michael Moore
by Chad Van Wagner

Michael Moore, like his right-wing counterpart Rush “Hillbilly Heroin” Limbaugh, can be intensely frustrating. Occasionally, both men can wriggle their way into having a point, but the way they got there leaves such a bad taste in your mouth that they might as well have not bothered.

Bowling for Columbine, Moore’s take on American gun culture, is somewhat less snarky than his debut, Roger and Me, but not by much. There’s been quite a bit said about Moore’s, er, “creative” editing, as well as a handful of flat-out fabrications (that Bush campaign ad? Buying ammo in Canada with no ID? Faked.). Not to mention the sneaking feeling that, if all this were really true, the histrionics wouldn’t be necessary: Just state the facts, and the outrage will follow (see The Trials of Henry Kissinger for more on this particular brand of hysterical journalism).

Normally, this kind of shoddy “reporting” would consign this documentary to the dustbin. But the real kicker here is that Moore makes a real, solid, and nearly revelatory point concerning the USA’s fear-mongering, specifically as it relates to guns. This needs to be said… loudly… as often as possible. Unfortunately, it’s buried halfway through a chest-thumping, blatantly slanted, self-serving stylized rant that effectively puts off the crowd that needs its message most long before the subject is even hinted at. So Moore takes a vital clue into the American psyche and makes listening to his babbling a prerequisite. Thanks, Michael.

What’s worse is that Moore has no problem using this fear angle himself. Why show us extended, uncut footage of innocent people being slaughtered by a bunch of gun-toting nutjobs? It’s a documentary, granted, but it goes ON and ON and ON. It’s excruciating. The point could’ve been made much more effectively without this obvious button-pushing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fan of the NRA, but if Bowling for Columbine is the standard for dialogue on this subject, nothing is going to change. Ever. More proof that the revolution will not be televised.