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PCR # 222  (Vol. 5, No. 26)  This edition is for the week of June 21--27, 2004.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Fahrenheit 9/11"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Four stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Lion's Gate Films     
Directed by: Michael Moore
Rated (at time of screening): R
Running Time: 2 hours

doc-u-men-ta-ry: adj. 1. Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents. 2. Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film--documentary noun

I begin this review with this definition, basically word for word no matter what on line dictionary you search. And I do it because shortly after I viewed this film, I was sent an email reminding me that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is NOT a documentary. Whatever it is, it is certainly the most powerful, emotionally wrenching film I've seen since "Schindler's List." This is director Moore's fourth film. He created the not nominated but highly deserving "Roger and Me" and the Oscar winning "Bowling For Columbine." In between he did the little seen comedy, "Canadian Bacon," starring the late John Candy. After digesting the above definition, I guess I'd have to agree. I mean, Oliver Stone never called "JFK" a documentary.

The film begins with a dream sequence, ending with Al Gore being named the victor in the Florida vote and the next President of the United States. Of course, we know who was declared the winner and who our 41st President is. The early parts of the film follow President on a seemingly endless vacation from the White House. Heck, he's so out and about that he actually runs into Moore at a function. When Moore introduces him self, 'ol Dubya tells him to, "go find some real work." Be careful what you wish for, Mr. President. The early footage is full of clips of several Bush family members spending time with many Saudi citizens. And a long missing fact is introduced to the mix. While in the National Guard, Mr. Bush was disciplined for refusing to take a physical. In producing the document the White House provided, the name of the other airman disciplined with him is blacked out. Moore produces an earlier form with the man named. What a coincidence: he started an aero sales company and sold his first helicopter to a Saudi man with the last name Binladen (this is how it is spelled on the sales receipt). The rest of the segments are news footage and articles showing that the Bushes, the Saudi's and members of the bin Laden family were very friendly at one time. And then dawn rose on September 11, 2001.

While the President is reading to a classroom of Florida children, he is informed by an aide as to the World Trade Center tragedies. As part of his orders, the nation's airports are shut down. Even the first President Bush, who ironically is meeting in Washington D.C with Osama bin Laden's step brother on a deal for a private firm he represented, is grounded. Yet, on September 13, with the help of the FBI, President Bush dispatched private planes to take 132 of his Saudi friends, including 24 members of Osama bin Laden's immediate family, out of America "for their protection." This fact is soon revealed to the public, with a shocked America asking "Why?" and Bush defenders pointing out that it was for their safety. Without giving away more of the plot, suffice it to say that we are now at war with Iraq. The cameras pick up the shots of dead children and grieving mothers, asking God why He chose to take their child. Moore visits his hometown of Flint, Michigan, and we are introduced to a mother who, because of the poor economy, has urged her children to join the armed forces. Her oldest daughter served in Desert Storm and her oldest son is currently in Iraq. He also gets words of wisdom from Brittney Spears and is as shocked as I am that attorney general John Ashcroft has such a lovely singing voice. Of course, the film comes full circle when Moore's friend loses her son. Her agony at her loss is almost a mirror image of the Iraqi women a year earlier, including her pleading questions to God. As enlistments begin to dwindle, Bush proposes a 30% pay cut for soldiers. And when the grieving mother receives her son's last paycheck, he has been shorted 5 days of the period "because he was dead."

A film that must be seen, no matter your views, I must warn you to prepare to be emotionally exhausted by the final credits. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Fahrenheit 9/11"  Four stars

This week's movie review of "Fahrenheit 9/11" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2004, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.