Bowling for Columbine
Last night I saw an important film, Bowling for Columbine. It’s a documentary by Mike Moore which looks at why Americans kill so many of each other with guns.
Without resorting to strict gun control support or easy fix-it solutions, Moore examines our history, our societal structure, our inherent racisms and most of all our fear of everything. While an easy answer isn’t presented, the theme of fear is strongly hinted at as a good place to start looking.
Sometimes over the top, and always cleverly painting the current subject as a fool, the movie gets away with wild conjecture and un-backed associations by never claiming to be giving the one true answer. While this could enflame some, it gets people thinking on broad topics, and is great fodder for discussion.
The film has been written about extensively, so I’ll provide you with already existent resources, rather than a full review. One personal note that I think is important to add is that this is the only film I’ve ever been to where upon leaving the theater, about a third of the nearly sold out crowd gathered in small groups to discuss what they’ve just seen. A good film, especially a good documentary, invokes discussion.
—interview with Mike Moore at the Cannes Film Festival 2002 on The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s website. As a side note, from the article:
Bowling for Columbine became the first documentary to be invited to the Cannes Film Festival official selection for fifty-five years. It was awarded a newly created special award and many critics hailed the feature length documentary as a sign of the rebirth of the form.NY Times Review
The reviewer brings up the valid points that Moore tends to over generalize topics, and draw associations with little to no backing. If nothing else, these moments spark debate. A quote from the review:
I hope the movie is widely seen and debated with appropriate ferocity and thoughtfulness. Does that sound evasive? I’m sorry if it does, but at the moment, political certainty seems to me to be a cheap and abundant commodity, of much less value than honest ambivalence.