are the facts: Last year there were 381 firearm homicides in Germany.
There were 165 in Canada, and 39 in Japan. In the United States,
there were 11, 127.
filmmaker Michael Moore (Roger and Me) investigates our nation's
gun culture in his most recent film, Bowling for Columbine. Beginning
with the massacre at Columbine High School, where 12 students and
one teacher were shot and killed in April 1999, Moore tries to figure
out why Americans are so obsessed with guns, and why we are killing
each other at rates staggeringly higher than other nations. The
film takes a circuitous route for these answers, and shifts from
moments that are frightening to hilarious. We see the absurdity
of a bank in Moore's home state of Michigan that offers a free gun
with a new checking account, and then a chilling interview with
James Nichols, the brother of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator,
Terry Nichols. We are on a roller-coaster ride of emotion from witty
cartoons to unnerving news footage of America's destruction overseas.
of the honesty of the film is lost as it is steeped in manipulation.
Moore is known for being a biased journalist who hunts down the
guilty corporate man. In this film, he takes aim at NRA President
Charlton Heston, who held a rally in Littleton, Colorado, just 10
days after the Columbine shootings. We are brow-beaten with the
image of Heston holding a rifle in the air, proclaiming that the
weapon will have to be pried "from my cold, dead hands." Moore gets
an interview with Heston under the pretense that Moore is actually
a member of the NRA. He is a great instigator in this way, because
he typifies the American gun-lover he is scrutinizing. However,
when Heston ends the interview abruptly, Moore responds by leaving
a picture of a slain 6-year-old girl, a victim of a school shooting,
on Heston's driveway. This act makes Moore appear as one of the
sensational journalists he goes great lengths to criticize.
of the film is affecting, particularly the footage from the Columbine
massacre. It is also especially moving when Moore and two injured
students from Columbine convince K-mart to stop selling ammunition
in their stores.
the end, Moore convinces us that many other countries are just as
crazy about guns as we are. But, he blames our exceedingly high
homicide rate on the TV news, which creates a "culture of fear,"
and that 33 million people in the U.S. are living in poverty, and
41 million people are without health insurance.
all, this is a timely film. When Bowling for Columbine was first
released, we watched our nation's violence escalate with the sniper
shootings in D.C.
is no wonder that this film received a 13-minute standing ovation
at its premiere, and that it was the first documentary film accepted
into competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 46 years. This film
is highly informative, entertaining, moving, and engaging, and,
undoubtedly, an important film to see. For every American, Bowling
for Columbine is essential viewing.
for more information on the film.
this article on the nextPix FORUM by going to its discussion
Copyright Web del Sol, 2003