An activist filmmaker finds ideas to save America
Film by Jorge Ignacio Castillo
Where to Invade Next
May 19-23, RPL Film Theatre
Time hasn’t been kind to Michael Moore. His films have consistently grossed less money since 2004’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Also, his academic rigour has been questioned, with reason: from conspiracy theories to inflammatory, staged scenes, Moore sometimes takes an agitator’s stance over documenting facts.
Then again, look at who complains about his films. He makes the right enemies.
Moore still has his nose for the issues brewing in America’s subconscious. He tackled gun control before mass shootings became monthly (Bowling for Columbine), brought up the unsustainability of America’s health system before Obamacare (Sicko), and questioned capitalism as the country’s economic system ahead of the Bernie Sanders craze (Capitalism: A Love Story).
Where to Invade Next is the director’s gentlest and most rigorous movie so far (it still accommodates facts to Moore’s convenience, but so do most documentary filmmakers’ films).
The premise imagines Michael Moore advising political and military authorities on what country should be America’s next target following the abject failures of Iraq and Afghanistan. Moore’s recommendations are, however, nations with specific traits America would be wise to adopt: Norway’s prison system, Germany’s atonement for past crimes, Tunisia’s women’s rights push, Slovenia’s free university and Finland’s education system, among others.
Where to Invade Next has humour (“Germany Fun Facts: None”) and leaves us feeling good that there are still some political systems that keep ordinary citizens’ needs in mind. In times when the United States’ soul seems damned (and the rest of the world has to worry about becoming collateral damage in a horrific meltdown), Moore is a voice Americans would be foolish to dismiss.