Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Rating: 5 / 5
“Bowling for Columbine” is no less relevant now than when it was made in 2002. Sure some might call its form of skewered documenting to be flawed, but it’s a sharp satire that is funny, thought provoking and very smart. This isn’t only a film that talks about gun control and the massacre at Columbine high school. It also talks about poverty, the nature of youth’s dissatisfaction with the world around them, and attempts to answer why the United States is the scene of so many gun-related crimes. What makes the United States similar and different from other countries; how does fear and the media, racism in the U.S. and what lessons can we learn from the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, as well as the ensuing reactions by the people it affected?
This isn’t a documentary like others. If you are not familiar with director Michael Moore you will be shocked to see how much of an agenda is being pushed here. The views are biased from the start, some of the ways the interviews are conducted are very flawed (for example the ambush interview with Charlton Heston) and there is some controversy over a scene in which the director obtains a gun as part of a deal for opening a bank account. Regardless of all of the details, that’s shocking stuff nonetheless. For these reasons it’s important to sit down with the movie and take some time afterwards to discuss it and ask yourself questions about the ideas and images you just saw. In fact I don’t think enough people have seen this movie despite the large amount of attention that it received when it was initially released. The fact is that we’re still seeing the NRA sticking their fingers in their ears as if nothing was wrong with the world and no one appears to be actually looking at what’s between the lines today.
If you think this is going to be dry and full of finger-wagging, think again. This, on top be being very emotional and education is also a very funny film. It’s got an excellent animated segment towards the middle that’s full of big laughs, some genuinely moving or even shocking footage. It’s hard to imagine someone that will get no reaction whatsoever out of this film. It asks a lot of important questions and in my book, “Bowling for Columbine” is essential viewing, even if you don’t like movies. (On DVD, December 15, 2012)