Saturday, October 3, 2015

Where to Invade Next (2015) New York Film Festival 2015

Michael Moore's latest film has been called his most optimistic and least angry film. I don't know if it's less angry, however it definitely is hopeful.

The film begins with Michael Moore being called into the Pentagon and asked by the Joint Chiefs where America could invade in order to determine where we could invade and actually win. Moore then goes across Europe looking for places to invade and what we should take from the various countries.  On his travels he discovers:

In Italy that many weeks of paid vacation, long lunches leads to greater productivity, less stress and less absenteeism.

In France  good school lunches get the kids to eat better for less money. They also have sex ed that reduces teen pregnancy and STDs

Finland has shorter school days and no home work and has students now considered the best educated in the world.

Slovenia has free college for everyone (even people from the US)

Germany has spa stays for the stressed and they accept their dark past.

Portugal doesn't arrest anyone one for drug use. They also have a great treatment plan.(When Moore points out that drugs are ruining people's lives the Portuguese Minister of Health says so is Facebook but no one is banning it.)

Norway has a prison system where there are few guards and real attempts at correcting bad behavior

Tunisia has women health clinics and allows womena voice.

Iceland elected the world first female president.

Moore's film is another cinematic essay about what's wrong with America but this time out Moore actually tells us what we should do to fix the country. Most amazingly for those who think Moore hates America is that by the time film ends you realize that he does love the country and that he really wants it work. Hell the big denouncement of the film is that all of the ideas are originally American- they just were refined elsewhere in the world.

While far from perfect the film nay actually be very close to being Michael Moore's best film. The problem, is that with like many of Moore's other films is that he isnt always the best at organizing the material for maximum effect. I say this having recently gone back tosee some of Moore's earlier films again and realized that as much as I liked them, my positive reaction to the films was more the result of being carried along by his message rather than his filmmaking. He really can't make a polished film.

Here the problem is that after traveling around a good part of Europe we get to Germany. The talk about how Germany treats it's workers with free spa stays for those stressed out  is amusing. The problem is Moore makes a sudden turn into darkness with an examination of how Germany is dealing with it's genocidal past. Moore feels that we in America should do the same thing. I'm not going to dispute his point. I understand what he's going for however the problem is it's a sudden turn that breaks the momentum of the film.(Also it doesn't fit his ultimate point which is everything he's raiding from the world actually came from an original American idea)

If that was the only problem with the film it would be okay except that after that the focus of the film shifts from raiding good ideas from the rest of the world into a film that posits that world would be better if women ran it, or at the very least had a large say in it. Again- the problem here is not the  premise, rather it's that the film more or less throws away the idea of things to take from the rest of the world for a new direction just over half way in. Instead of lots of idea he simply repeats the same one in a couple of countries. There is nothing wrong with it except that it left me wondering what the film really is all about. Moore tries to weave the women should be in charge with the other ideas  and it kind of works, I mean the ending had me shed a tear, but at the same time the premise that women need to be more involved in the running of things should be a film of its own and not part of the rest of this film.

Should you see the film? Oh hell yea. Its a really good if slightly uneven film that is going to give you a great deal to think about especially when you realize that many of the things he finds wrong are there just to make some corporation richer and not to make our lives or children better.

The film has ne more screening at the New York Film Festival at 3 PM today (For tickets and information go here) and is do to be released to theaters some time soon.

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