Sunday, June 13, 2010

Best Films of the Decade - #29: Bowling for Columbine (2002)

People who criticize the documentaries of Michael Moore for his obviously strong left-wing bias may be missing the point.
I know some people are of the school of belief that the best documentary film making is the type that weighs both sides of an issue with academic objectivity, but aren't one-sided arguments so much more interesting? If I wanted impartial reportage of fact, I'll turn on the news. Moore's intent is to persuade and provoke thought, plus to entertain, and thus he takes a firm stance and argues for it with both humour and severity. That doesn't make his docs any less intelligent, or in the case of Bowling for Columbine, any less powerful. The passionately debated issue of guns in the United States is an important one to discuss, and Moore's film may only cover one half of the debate, but it does so in compelling fashion and it definitely makes a lasting impression. He juxtaposes the brutality of all sorts of modern conflicts against the backdrop of schools and peaceful communities who have suffered tragedy at the hands of America's lackadaisical gun laws. Even the most hardhearted of viewers can't deny the emotional pull of the stories he tells.

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