Opening January 17, 2019
Directed by: Michael Moore
Writing credits: Michael Moore
Principal actors: Documentary: Michael Moore, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Katie Perry, et al.
His reputation precedes him: “(have they)… got any guns?” “No… Michael Moore.” The juxtaposition is justifiable; Fahrenheit 11/9 lays out how democracies are/can be devalued, delegitimized, disgraced, desecrated, and destroyed. Moore’s canvas is global, his brushstrokes are broad and fine, none are errant. His Voiceover—joking, disarming, serious and tempered anger—guides us: From the White House and Congress to NBC’s The Voice (Gwen Stefani) and a 1998 segment of CBS’s The Roseanne Show (Roseanne Barr); from Flint, Michigan and Parkland, Florida to “real America,” and political party loyalists; from protest marches, to tears and fears, and media’s fixations; from celebrities to self-perpetrated scandals. Moore systematically debunks, while exemplifying topical subjects and certain purported historical events. Counterbalancing some sequence’s chilling parallels are either archival history, surprising information revealed, and/or historical comparisons. No cherry picking was necessary; Moore simply put facts/events in perspective, showing what is hiding in plain sight.
Writer-director Moore’s script is succinctly taut, remarkably prescient. Doug Abel and Pablo Proenza elegantly edit cinematographers Luke Geissbuhler and Jayme Roy’s compelling footage, stunning archival material, insert phenomenally well-matched music, and Harold Moss’ visual effects.
Fahrenheit 11/9 is a quick and blistering civics–history–political science lesson that contains a staggering amount of information—it may require a second viewing. Laugh-out-loud moments commingle with those that elicit cringing or crying; the opening segment is brilliant. Color becomes inconsequential—red, blue, yellow, black, white, brown; the message is impartial. Donald Trump becomes secondary to the importance of people participating in democracy, e.g. voting. Is “consensus” congruent when democracy is at stake? “It didn’t need to end up like this, and it still doesn’t.” 100 minutes (Marinell H.)