Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sicko (2007, Michael Moore)

"A comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on earth."

As soon I heard that the newest Michael Moore documentary was about the health care system in America I knew that I would be biased towards it. I don't want to sound like I am complaining, or sounding emo, or sounding self important but I am a big victim of this shit system. I wont go into detail because this is not a diary entry or even a livejournal. I will just say that I have experienced this horrible system first hand. When I heard that this would be the topic of this documentary I couldn't wait to see Moore expose the awful truth about it.

Maybe its because so much has been exposed about Moore or maybe its just because his bag of tricks has been uncovered so much since his early days of Roger and Me, but during the length of Sicko you tend to be very skeptical of what you are watching on the screen.

Moore once again knows what buttons to press and begins Sicko by about 45 minutes of horror tales from the medical health care in America. We see and get to know all these Americans who have suffered thanks to the medical system. All these small segments are great but after 20 minutes of the same thing over and over again you kind of get the point that Moore is touching on. America's health care system sucks. We all know that. Moore in an interview said that he didn't want to offend anyones intelligence by going into the documentary explaining the health care system. He however does offend the intelligence of the audience by telling all these stories over and over again and continuing to preach a message that we all already know.

I once again don't have that much a problem with all these segments though. They are at least interesting and will just leave you shaking your head at how incredibly bad our system is. We know our health care how do we make it better Michael Moore? Well, by showing other countries health care systems for an hour and then ending the film of course.

Sure the later hour of the film is interesting and entertaining but it all really doesn't serve a purpose other than to just once again point out how much our system sucks. Maybe its because I have experienced the health care first hand, and continue to, but I was just frustrated with the presentation that Moore gives us. Its not a bad presentation, its just not an important one. Through out the second half of the film I was just begging Moore to show what we as Americans can do to be better but he never does. He doesn't even purpose that many questions. Just the simple "if we are so rich then why cant we treat out own citizens as well as ____" Great question, but that's it? Your not even going to even try to get one person to answer that? Not even try to get someone who actually likes our system and will debate it to no end? Nothing at all?

France has amazing health care! UK has amazing health care! Even Cuba does! America doesnt! This is basically it for the whole film. I hate,hate,hate,hate saying that this documentary is very one sided, but it is. I hate saying this because I love the side where the documentary stands. I support this side and I want this side to win. However we cant win by just complaining and comparing ourselves to other people for 2 hours and expect the other "evil side" to magically change.

Moore gives us a documentary that presents all the facts he wants to show but doesn't give any opposing thoughts on his facts. When the film finishes you feel that you have watched something great but when you really think of what you watched for the last 2 hours you start thinking that you haven't watched anything new or something that you didn't already know.

I wanted Moore to probe for answers. I wanted confrontations. I wanted to see Moore trying to make a change personally. Part of me sort of feels offended that he has done this in all of his previous documentaries and even in his tv show. He even did this for the tv episode that inspired him to make this documentary. Yet he doesn't do it for this. I want answers, not more questions.

Maybe the purpose of the documentary is to allow us to watch the film, become informed, and then ask the tough questions ourselves. The thing is that Moore should know that this has long been happening already every year. He even touches it upon his film that even Hilary Clinton couldn't change things. How will this film change things? It wont, sadly. I would have loved to have seen this film begin to change things but I hardly doubt it will make any changes at all.

Sicko is not a bad film at all. It is highly entertaining and does help to inform. It just a weak execution in my eyes. I just wanted something more challenging than what is ultimatly there. It just all feels tame. When a films final sequences are Michael Moore almost crying because Cuba is so nice, you cant help but feel that you saw something really tame, lame, and weak.

- ***

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