Michael Moore begins with a smart title and ends with a call to action. “This Girl is on Fire” would be an apt theme song. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a worthy star, and those like her. Those who take no money from special interest groups may be democracy’s last hope.
The boiling point and this retrospective of how America ended up with Donald Trump as President begins with the snide question: “ Was it all a dream?” and then morphs into snippets of commentators and recognizable politicos overtly saying “ Donald Trump will never be President of the United States”. As many famous faces merely scoff and laugh at the idea, footage of Hillary’s 85% to Trump’s 15% presage a done deal for electing the first woman to the Oval Office. Michael Moore reminds us of what he warned, “Dismiss him ( Donald Trump) at your own peril.”
The use of operatic music is effective in re-living the tragedy of Trump’s win. State by state: Ohio, Florida, North Carolina etc… sound the Wagnerian cry. We are reminded that Trump had written no victory speech. His image projected on the Empire State Building is superimposed with a voiceover of “ How the fuck did this happen?” Smoothly, the next screen shot is of the making of a cast dummy. At the Wax Museum, Donald’s waxen image with orange woven hair morphs into Donald Trump live. Moore is a master at this, both in innuendo and direct assault.
Many points are made, and not much escapes criticism. The media were ecstatic with the “cash cow” of the apprentice presidency. Video sections of Trump bragging about “phoner interviews” and reams of incidences where Trump kept the media waiting are splayed out to damning effect. When the “circus does come to town”, crimes are committed in plain sight, and Donald’s words, “ I sort of get away with things like that.” ring a scary truth. Moore is good at this.
One of the creepier segments of this documentary/diatribe parades a sequence of twelve to fifteen shots of Donald with his hands on his daughter, Ivanka. Somehow, we think of kneading freshly risen dough.
A segue using the voiceover: “Trump loves strong men.” has Moore introducing us to the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder. Snyder, once the CEO of Gateway computer company is a “ privatized” of public services. Moore is in home territory. His scathing depiction of the Flint water crisis is tongue-in-cheek laudatory: “CEO governor pulls it off~ poisons a city. No terrorist government has accomplished this!”
O’Bama takes his hits, too. We are shown how when President O’Bama came to Flint and drank the water on camera, he minimized the problem. Detroit was used for target practice, and when General Motors’ car parts started to corrode because of Flint river water, the Lake Huron pipeline was diverted to remedy the problem. The residents of Flint were left with the water from the polluted Flint River, but the car parts were saved.
Goldman Sacks and the banking industry was a priority of the O’Bama administration, too. Clinton and Sanders are rebooted, and the electoral college is said to have been written to appease the slave states. Bury it if we wish for a true democracy, states Moore.
Education and gun control are fleshed out as well. The Parkland piece brought tears to my eyes. As did privatized schools and prisons. When information is controlled and all critics are discredited, we have a despot a foot.
Moore tells us that “history is a huge resource for patterns.” Hitler comparisons are made to Trump. Bother were outsiders who trumpeted putting their nations first. Crowds flocked to see them. German athletes who did not sing the National Anthem were punished. Trump’s rhetoric is used side by side that of the Nazi party’s.
Amid all the liberal points made, is the overriding theme :Our government that we count on for basic protections is being dismantled by corporate interests. We get what we deserve unless we do something about it. “Democracy is only an aspiration in America.” “The America I want to save is the America we have never had.” We must mobilize for freedom, and keep idealism alive. Moore does inspire. The film is equally balanced between pessimism and idealism. The status quo is the enemy as much as “Big Phara” and the NRA. Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9” screams for action and votes.