THREE AND A HALF STARS Michael Moore tackles Donald Trump and the rise of fascism.
Michael Moore, Donald Trump
Oscar winning documentary-maker Michael Moore is back and more pissed off than ever. Democracy, he argues, is under siege and this is his call-to-arms: do something, anything, before it’s too late. This is not the first time he’s explored this theme - FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (from which he playfully borrows the title) shone a blinding light on the wilful of destruction of the Bush 2 era while SICKO did the same for a health care system under attack by capitalism. It’s one of his favourite talking points and with good reason now that we find ourself knee deep in the viscous byproduct of populist-neo-liberalism. Is it too much to compare Trump with Hitler? Not for Michael Moore.
Over two compelling, sometimes rambling, always entertaining and frequently alarming hours, Moore makes the case that fascism is knocking at the door and we’re about to let it in. Rather than it happening in a far off, avoidable, irrelevant land as has always been the case, this time it is coming to an America near you (with other states to follow). And as he presents his line of reason, it’s hard not to agree. Consider the recent forced separation of refugee children and their parents at the US border, with parallels to the Nazi treatment of Jews. Or an autocratic leader who favours the idea of being President For Life. Could it happen? FAHRENHEIT 11/9 asserts that we’re well on the way.
Granted some of his claims are drawn from a long bow and his (many) detractors will find the Nazi comparisons a bridge too far. Similarly, his circular narrative style will loose viewers after the first rotation. But when sat alongside the state-sanctioned poisoning of children in Flint, Michigan, or the soft response to race attacks, school shootings and Russian interference by the White House, and you can see the natural end to Moore’s line of reasoning.
Yet it’s not a future we have to have. The director has always been one to wear his political stripes on his sleeve, and despite the apparent anti-American slant of his work, he goes to great lengths to remind us he’s a patriot foremost. While he might despise his government, he loves his country, he still has hope. “This is about how we got in this situation,” said Moore, “and how we can get out of it.” Therein what passes for a happy ending.