Thursday, December 20, 2007


Sicko (Michael Moore, 2007) [8]
By toning down the harsh rhetoric and actually spending a lot of time on creating a structurally good film, Sicko should be considered Moore's best film to date. The problem is that Michael Moore has used to his other films to grandstand and confront, which has made him a hugely divisive person. No matter how sober and rational the message of the film will be, the people that have always loved him will love it and those who don't agree with him will hate it. I've always found Moore's films to be entertaining but this one is the most competent and structured film he's ever created. It does mean, however, that the sharp humor has been toned down for this one but it's not really a negative. Those on both sides of the political spectrum would like to boil down the film to a indictment on the HMO/private system in the U.S. and/or the fawning over the socialized systems in Canada, Britain, and France. The ideological points of the film aren't really that black and white. Moore really uses his visits to other countries as an examination as why the U.S. is the only industrialized, Western nation that doesn't have universal health care. Of course what is shown of the Canadian and European systems may be polished a bit but if you don't know what you're going to get out of Moore by now, then you're a bit stupid. Those systems aren't perfect but they're much better than the one here now. Moore's strongest points in the film are telling the stories of the people who do have health insurance and still don't get the coverage they thought or should have. The first hour of this film works so well mostly because Moore keeps focused on the stories of people like that. That, and he reigns in the dramatic confrontations that mark his films. The film's weakest moment is the one stunt he does attempt by taking 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba; it just doesn't fit with the rest of the film. Besides its one misstep, Moore really has made a focused, poignant film, something that just can't be said about his previous efforts. Even without the shrill rhetoric, the film does have its funny moments, most notably the record of Ronald Reagan talking about the perils of socialized medicine. That leads me again to what I think Moore is asking in Sicko: why have American become so ingrained as to think something like universal health care is akin to a Socialist takeover of this country? The result is a strong and sympathetic film for the case for universal health care as well as highlighting that this nation's system has failed many.

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