Michael Moore is one of those film-makers who you either love or hate. Whilst he’s obviously well-intentioned and has a knack of hitting the nail on the head, he also has a strong self-promotional line; making films which have a tendency to end up being as much about Michael Moore as anything else. Early work such as Roger and Me and Bowling for Columbine demonstrated how successful his style can be, but his recent films have fallen somewhere between satire and pastiche. With Fahrenheit 11/9 he returns to his hometown, Flint, to carry on where he left-off in Fahrenheit 9/11 over a decade ago.
Whilst the situation in Michigan is worse than ever, the politics of the United States of America has altered dramatically. The rise of Trump shocked and astounded many but Moore was one of those people who predicted this future. Equally critical of the Democrats, he levels his sights on the political class as a whole. Citing the campaigning of the Parkland survivors as the example we should follow.
Fahrenheit 11/9 is Michael Moore’s best film in over a decade. He’s at his best when he’s concentrating on investigation and has a way of getting his points across in a clear and coherent fashion. There are a couple of great attacks on the Democrats which hit the mark but when addressing Trump he tends to sink to his level. The Nazi comparison is almost childish, as is the mildly offensive focus on Ivanka. Whilst the sections with Parkland survivors feels exploitative, at times. The camera tends to linger. However, there’s enough in Fahrenheit 11/9 to make it imperative viewing. He just needs to know when to reign it in.
Fahrenheit 11/9 is released on DVD by Vertigo Releasing on 6 May.