Frabjous Times

Fahrenheit 9/11 review

Yesterday we went to see an afternoon showing of this here in Washington Township. The theater was maybe one-third full, a good deal less than the Harry Potter movie that we saw recently. It was a different audience makeup, to be sure, well-mannered and attentive particularly during the harrowing interview of a Michigan woman who once would have been called a "Gold Star mother" - it was as if everyone held their breath at that point, the emotional center of the film.
The movie sometimes gave me the impression of a feature-length short on the web, rather than a "real" film. It was the cutting in of irreverent cultural clips along with grainy footage and cheap little gags along the way. Perhaps this is the movie itself, or maybe it is just the independent documentary style, or perhaps it's just Michael Moore's way. The one point which left my face wet was the short montage describing the events of September 11th as the horror unfolded.
I know there's been a lot of criticism of the facts as presented here, particularly of the first part of the film which is heavy on the political conspiracy aspect of the current administration's response to 9/11. The stronger part of the movie seems to be the second half which takes up the advent of the Iraq war along with interviews with those most directly affected by the war. I was wondering during this part what it would have been like if it could have included the revelations of prison abuse and the current spate of hostage executions (it did include mention of the one early incident of Japanese civilians who had been threatened with burning alive), upping the stakes.
So how many Congressmen had enlisted sons during even the most popular wars (say WWII)? That would have put the "only one out of 535" figure for this war into context. And I didn't completely buy the vague implication that there was some sort of benefit accruing to the bin Laden family related to 9/11 - to me, it does not seem so farfetched that two families high up in the same business would have had extensive dealings over the years without anything necessarily nefarious about it. Still, I think that if even a fraction of the charges made here are unassailable that would make for a pretty persuasive case against the Administration and its cronies in big business.
I don't know whether this will affect the outcome of the Fall election directly, because I kind of doubt that the truly undecided voters in battleground states will be watching this sort of movie. But I don't think it will drop out of the discussion for many months to come whether it swings the outcome or not.
Originally published: 2004/06/28 07:37:33