Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)

Whatever you think of Michael Moore, he is probably the most prominent documentary maker of the last 3 decades. Whether or not you like the points he makes in his films, it is hard to deny their poignancy and brilliantly effective persuasive power. Call it whimsy, emotionalism, over-generalisation or manipulative shock tactics, he gets his point across. And this outlandish, technicolor explosion of self-righteousness, be it unfocused, arrogant, scattershot and capricious, is his magnum opus. It is not often that an Oscars audience loudly boos one of its own winners, but that happened when Michael Moore’s previous film took out Best Documentary in 2003 and he introduced some of this movie’s themes from the microphone. In short this is an event movie, and probably the most famous and high-profile documentary in movie history.

Depending on your point of view it is either a slanderous kaleidoscope of wild, baseless allegations, or an outrageously brazen example of speaking truth to power. Call it what you will, if you’re interested in US politics, you have to see it. If only to witness an incredible collection of amazing news footage all in one place. Few docos can assemble such an avalanche of big budget interviews and crucial TV moments relating to any major news event, still less one freshly put together in the immediate aftermath, before the dust cloud of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks had settled, so to speak. Moore’s film, controversial though it is, still remains the defining cinematic statement on those attacks, and his analysis of them one of the most influential.

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