I delayed catching the opening of Michael Moore's latest, Fahrenheit 911, until I could get back into S.F. and see it with Serena. Having arrived home late last night, I thought we could catch a matinee at the Metreon this morning. We headed over to catch the 10:30 AM screening thinking we could thereby avoid the crowds. I am happy to report that even the show we attended was thirty seats shy of being sold out.
As for the film itself, my reaction is very favorable. I applaud Moore's efforts and success at generating such fascinating levels of mainstream interest for a documentary and putting up some remarkable numbers. Much of America is waking up from its apathy and engaging the discussion once again. The film was entertaining, and at times, downright touching. There are points where tears are inevitable.
On the other hand, this film suffers from Moore's traditional achilles heel - he cannot stay on point. Instead, his stories meander from nugget to nugget bridged by segues stretched beyond their comfortable bounds. At one point in today's film, Moore spent five minutes talking about how few state police guard sections of Oregon. Hardly the stuff of import we came to see. He constantly yields to the temptation to infuse too many punchlines, rather than more deeply flushing out his analysis. (Maybe this just shows his savvy for TV/commercial film).
Whatever the case, this film is important. I have read a handful of well-researched books outlining the foibles and malevolence of the current administration and have already drawn my conclusions about these folks. Despite that, I think we all need constant reminders of just how misguided and evil this president is lest we become too complacent. Fahrenheit serves as that nudge into the realm of discomfort and dutiful reflection upon what we can do to bring about change.