5 Stars

I saw this film last night at the Metreon in San Francisco and can only describe it this way: documentary filmmaking at its best. Michael Moore bring us a film that is informative, funny, provocative, moving, and unabashedly critical of the Bush Administration and their use of the Iraq war to further their own agenda.

The film opens with the Gore-Lieberman victory celebration on election night, 2000, and poignantly asks if the last four years has been a just a bad dream. It explains what we now know is a fact, Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris knowingly disenfranchised many minority Florida voters to help George W. Bush steal the election. For more on this see the 2002 documentary, Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election.

The film portrayed the way the congressional Democrats, with the exception of a handful of African American House members, rolled over without protest to the theft of the election. It showed defiant African American House members rising honorably in protest on the Senate floor to object the certification of the election results only to be gaveled out of order by Al Gore, President Pro-Tem of the Senate presiding over the joint session. The objectors could not force a debate because they could not get a single Senator to support their right to do so. Not Lieberman, not Kennedy, not Edwards, and not Kerry. This was sad to see.

The film then goes on to detail the months leading up to the 9/11 attacks and chronicles Bush’s vacations, including embarrassing responses that Bush himself gave to the press trying to justify his time off. This is not just Moore’s opinion, the record shows that President Bush was listed “on vacation” over forty percent of the time during his first eight months in office.

The film credits roll when the timeline reaches 9/11. Instead of showing the gruesome images of the Twin Towers being struck by airplanes, Moore allows the audience to call up their own recollections of the chilling event by using a black screen and audio of that fateful morning in New York.

Moore then shows George W. Bush choosing to go ahead with a photo opportunity at a Florida school after the attack on the first tower. During the photo op, after the second tower is struck by terrorists, Bush’s chief of staff whispers into his ear, “America is under attack.” This is where we all get to see Bush’s world crashing in around him. For seven minutes we watched the surreal scene. Without anyone to tell him what to do, Bush continued with the photo op while apparently thinking “what the fuck do I do now?” Bush’s possible thought process is masterfully narrated by Moore during this amazing scene–you have to see it to believe it.

Moore doesn’t dwell on this scene for seven full minutes, instead he gives us enough footage to think that had Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, Carter, or any other modern era President been sitting in that chair, he would have stood up and immediately taken action. But not George Dubya, the self-proclaimed “War President” had absolutely no idea what to do and it showed. Again, this is the most compelling scene in the film.

The film continues on to make the following points, as far as I can remember anyway:

1) A few days after the attacks and with the help of the Bush Administration, 140 Saudis, including several members of the Bin Laden family, were allowed to leave the United States without being formally questioned by the FBI.

2) The Bush family has enjoyed a cozy business relationship with the Saudi Royal family and the Bin Laden family for years. Collectively, these families have contributed $1.6 billion to Bush family business ventures over the last three decades.

3) Saudi investments in United States equity markets total almost $1 trillion, nearly 7% of our total economy. Large investments into The Carlyle Group, which invests largely in defense, ensure that the Saudis, specifically the Bin Laden family will profit from the war.

4) Bush, as governor of the Texas, invited Taliban leaders to meet with Unocal in Texas to discuss building a pipeline across Afghanistan.

5) Due to the Bush family’s business relationships with the Taliban and the Bin Laden family, Bush sent few troops to Afghanistan, which allowed most of the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden to escape.

6) Many companies in the United States are reaping large rewards and contracts due to the Iraq war. Particularly Halliburton and the Carlyle group. Defense contractors held a conference to discuss how to split up the proverbial pie.

7) The Bush Administration pushes fear as a constant message in their speeches, press releases, and interviews. This fear mongering allowed it to pass the Patriot Act, the largest afront to civil liberties in history. One congressman admitted that not all members of congress read the Patriot Act before it was passed.

8) Civil liberties have been encroached upon severely on Bush’s watch. One Oakland man was visited by the FBI after calling President Bush an “asshole” in his health club. A peace group in Freson was infiltrated by a police undercover officer to investigate “terrorist” activity.

9) Only one member of congress has a child in the military.

10) America’s armed forces recruit from the poorest neighborhoods in the country, including Moore’s own hometown of Flint, Michigan. Often armed services recruiters recruit in the poorest malls in the city using predatory tactics.

11) The Iraq war is bad for America because it pits America’s poor and underprivileged children to fight against the poor and underprivileged in Iraq. War is nothing more than poor people killing poor people, while the rich get richer.

12) The Iraq war was a ploy by the Bush Adminstration so that our President and his business associates could control the world’s second largest oil supply. This is the same reason why we are now friends with Libya–oil.

Moore utilized the mother of a soldier killed in action throughout the film to bolster the emotional argument against the war. Initially, the mother was seen as a staunch conservative and huge supporter of the war. It is not until near the end of the film that the Moore discloses that her son was killed in action. It is a very effective jolt of reality that made many in the audience weep.

The film casts stones and does not wait for to see them fall. It is a continuous barrage of critical ideas about the Bush Adminstration and questions about its intentions and motives. Whether you love Moore or hate him, whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, you should watch this film. Republicans and conservatives should watch it just to find out what George W. Bush is doing “in their names.” This film is destined to stir debate on both sides of the aisle and in the streets of America, and frankly, it’s about time.


  1. I came home from seeing the movie just a few short hours ago and i agree 100% with your review, it’s hard to pull of any kind of movie combining the elements of comedy and sadness, but michael moore has done it. One scene that is burned into my brain was when one of the soldiers was bragging about how he likes to listen to music while blowing up people, one of the songs was “Let the bodies hit the floor” by drowning pool, ironically it was one of the 150 songs banned off of clear channel after the 9-11 attack, this whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. but some how michael moore’s film eases up some tension by giving a good bitch slap to our presidents pasty dumbfounded face.

    #1 by Andrew — July 4, 2004 @ 12:16 pm



    #2 by JROCK — September 12, 2004 @ 1:53 am

  3. First off Moore just shows you ignorant fools one side of the story.

    For starters over 70% of DEMOCRATS have investments in the Carlyle Group, you know the investment group that Moore ties Bush with. Lie?? Go check for yourself.

    President Bush was the governor of the Texas when Taliban leaders went for a meeting with Unocal. Your hero Clinton was the one that actually setup the meeting. He’s the one that backs up Unocal, not Bush! Let’s go a little further, Bush backed Enron, which at no time had any plans for Afghanistan.

    Your “poor and underprivileged children” keep you safe at night. I find it an insult that you would ever give us that title! I served because I wanted to, not for the money. I really don’t think you know what you’re talking about. You should be thanking us for your freedom. If it’s so bad here then pack your shit and move to France!

    #3 by Marine — November 29, 2004 @ 3:19 pm

  4. I think i just wanna hear that song, and to know the name of the band or that person who did it and where I can get it? The songs name is “When the bodies hit the Floor” and are recorded in the movie “9/11” by Michael Moore. Anyone? BIG fan!!

    #4 by MrMajestic — April 10, 2006 @ 1:19 pm

  5. The name of the song is “Bodies” by Drowning Pool released in 2001. You can get it here.

    #5 by Nugget — April 10, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

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