Sicko (Moore, 2007)

Some people despise Michael Moore, and I just can’t figure out why. Even if you don’t agree with his politics, or show-boating, or style, he’s still one of the only American filmmakers consistently dissecting American failures in the social and political spectrum. And he’s doing it through brilliant use of montage, using jarring, personal images and emotional moments, cut with music, animation, and archival footage to produce the greatest and extreme responses. Sicko, Moore’s latest incendiary doc on the state of American health care, offers a toned down, but precise example of this approach to filmmaking. Moore spends most of the film off camera (that is until the righteous ending), and it provides even the most anti-Moore viewer with a look at what he’s really capable of, all pandering aside. Moore is a fine showman, and an even better antagonizer, and we need his passion right now in an American film market flushed with mediocre Hollywood shit. Sicko not only rightfully lambasts a system that’s obviously not working, but it goes a step farther and charts other health care modes that are. Even if his portrayals of Canada, France, and England’s health care system feels too rosy, his point remains to shake American viewers into a rage, as if to say that if even half of what he’s telling us is true, we should be rioting in the streets. After viewing the film, I felt Sicko to be Moore’s best work to date – restrained yet tough, enticing and maddening, forceful but humane. For all these reasons, it’s Moore’s most mature film, and the one with the most seamless and scary structure, basing almost all of it’s facts on human accounts of horror within the system. The ending, while almost unforgivably staged, is devastating in it’s unmasking of our current government’s lack of humanity toward those they deemed heroes only a few short moments ago – the rescue workers at Ground Zero who now suffer from terrible respiratory ailments because of their sacrifice. Corporate Health Care, of course, gave them the runaround, and it’s actions like these that make Michael Moore so necessary. We know, for better or worse, he’s not going to let any of these money grubbing bastards on Capital Hill or in the corporate world off the hook, and we’re all healthier for it.

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