Fahrenheit 9/11

I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 last Sunday, and to my surprise I wasn’t all that impressed. It was still good, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as I liked Roger & Me or Bowling for Columbine.

To some extent I think it’s that I had already heard most of this story already. I’ve been following the play-by-play through the various Congressional hearings, 9/11 commissions, and tell-all books so the only big surprises was in seeing all the video Moore dug up. But the big problem was that the movie lacked the solid focus that Roger and Columbine had.

Roger & Me tells the “simple” story of a city’s economic decline and the distant decision-makers who cause it. Columbine wanders around more, but every turn still asks the same question: why are our children dying? Perhaps it’s because the story kept shifting as he was making the film, but Fahrenheit 9/11 feels more like a montage. It starts with the story of an incompetent president used to getting whatever he wants from his Daddy’s connections, turning to the deep connections between the Bushes and the House of Saud (and for that matter, the Bin Ladens), shifting again to talk about how the rich reap the spoils of wars fought with the blood of the poor, and ending with an Orwellian moral that the only way the haves can keep the have-nots from demanding equality and justice is to keep them frightened by war eternal. These are all solid themes and the movie follows them all reasonably well (though sometimes it got a little too sophomoric for my taste) but when the lights came up I didn’t feel like he’d tied them together.

I’ll probably see it again before it leaves the theaters and see if I feel the same way the second time. Anyone else feel the same way after seeing it?