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Film review: Fahrenheit 11/9 

Michael Moore’s first major work of the Trump era is an incendiary condemnation of almost everyone.

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If Michael Moore's last film, Where to Invade Next, was possibly his most gimmicky (that is saying a lot), then Fahrenheit 11/9 sets him back somewhere he can be taken seriously again. A spiritual sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore's condemnation of the Bush administration, 11/9 looks at how exactly America—and the rest of us—ended up with Donald Trump's greasy finger on the button.

Nobody is spared here, including the Democratic party, which Moore believes has governed too centrist and made itself barely distinguishable from the GOP. (There's also some primary-rigging evidence that will relight the tiresome Bernie Would Have Won crowd.) Even Barack Obama—who did not get his own Michael Moore movie, notably—is pulled apart, as the drone strikes, separated immigrant children and rights repealed throughout his tenure are plainly laid out. The movie sees Obama's biggest betrayal as showing up in Flint, Michigan—Moore's hometown—and pretending to drink that city's notoriously poisoned water, then declaring everything fine.

One of Fahrenheit 11/9's most jaw-dropping throughlines is that of the Flint water: A corrupt governor; health care workers asked to cover up the lead levels of the children; while being served the highest water bills in the US—and the whole issue could be fixed with the literal flip of a switch.

Moore's other case—Trump is Hitler—is possibly the laziest argument one can put up when debating levels of evil, but the filmmaker draws the parallels between Germany in the '30s and America in the '00s in a sober, terrifying manner: State-created emergency (Reichstag fire and 9/11); evil rise to power (Nazis and post-Obama Republicans); legacy media saying not to worry about it (New York Times, both).

The problem with documentaries like these is they preach to the converted—the tone is too mocking and dismissive to convince anyone else—but if you're already on side, you may be surprised to learn you're not yet angry enough.


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Vol 27, No 8
July 18, 2019

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