07 November 2002

Bowling for Columbine


I am changed. I am shaken. I am feeling really raw and angry and vulnerable right now. I am remembering ideas and emotions I had buried. This is a film every man, woman and teenager in this country -- in the free world -- needs to see. No matter how "sensitive" you are, no matter your politics, no matter your background, race or worldview. People should be strapped into this fucker Clockwork Orange-style, if necessary. But they must see this film.

I do not say this as a "liberal," or as an "anti-gun nut" or as an "intellectual." I say this as one human being trying to love his fellow man. This movie needs to be seen by us all.

Do not go to this movie thinking you will have a good time. Do not go to this movie thinking you will have a "good cry." Do not go to this movie expecting to walk out of it unaffected, and above all do not go to this movie thinking you will get laid afterwards. You won't.

This is a film that will upset you. It will disturb you. It will unsettle you deeply. You will wince at least as often as you laugh. You will cry, and I mean cry tears of pain. Your mouth will open and close on its own accord. You may well walk out, and you're a fool and a coward if you do.

This is easily the most important, the most moving, the most powerful American film this year. Maybe in the last decade, possibly the last quarter-century.

Those of you who think you know Michael Moore from his previous work (such as Roger & Me) and those of you who think you don't need to see the film because you have it figured out ("that radical Moore is going to use Columbine to attack the NRA! It's a liberal love-fest!!") are, simply put, wrong. You know nothing. This film is not about those things, though I will concede that it bears some resemblance to Moore's UK TV series The Awful Truth.

Moore has gone way beyond his previous work here. Hell, he's gone way beyond what most documentary filmmakers ever accomplish. This is a film which, if enough people will go and see it, can literally change the world. In terms the mainstream can understand, he has "kicked it up a notch" when it comes to powerful social filmmaking. It's not perfect, but this movie is a stunning achievement for Moore, and for film as art.

I figure I see about 750 films of various lengths every year (yes, really). Possibly more than that. If that gives me any credibility in your mind that I know an important and worthwhile film when I see one, let me reiterate: this one is really something special. If it is playing in your town, go see it. Don't wait for the DVD. This is too important.

I'm begging everyone who reads this: you need to see this movie. Everyone needs to see this movie. Then we need to think about it. Then we need to talk about it.

Then we need to act on it.

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