Full version Bowling For Columbine

Bowling For Columbine

This print version free essay Bowling For Columbine.

Category: English

Autor: reviewessays 18 April 2011

Words: 1064 | Pages: 5

I’m not a person short on opinions or biases, so allow me to make a few points that will help you understand where this review is coming from. I do not like the powerful lobby groups that have hijacked our political process, placing it in the hands of rich corporate America. The NRA is a top offender. Their rabid devotion to all but the words “well regulated” in the second amendment ensures meaningful firearms legislation will never be passed. I wouldn’t own an assault riffle, but I think John Q. Public should have any one he wants. Johnny should also be ready for the United States government to go spelunking in his labonza, looking for any reason why he shouldn’t own such a weapon. Assault weapons are not the issue, I could have done ten times the damage with a shotgun and 900 rounds from K-Mart, than Columbine shooters Erik Harris and Dylan Klebold did with assault riffles. I believe the Republican Party is evil incarnate. I think The Democratic Party is lost and going the way of the Dodo. I do not like right wing jerky boy Bill O’Reilly and I don’t like the left wings equal, Michael More.

That being said: Michael Moore's film --“Bowling for Columbine”-- is an attempt to define the social issues that have created America’s gun crazed, fear mongering, might is right, we-live-for-ultra-violence society. The movies centerpiece is the killing spree at Columbine High School, committed by Erik Harris and Dylan Klebold supposedly after they had attended their morning bowling class. Moore is the quintessential gadfly, his polite almost humorous questions provoke revealing reactions from interviewees. His goal is not to provide answers or solutions for the issues he raises, but rather expose misconceptions and make the audience ask questions.

Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Marilyn Manson, Charlton Heston, Matt Stone Dick Clark, John Nichols and the disheveled Michael Moore himself are but a few of the characters we meet as Moore guides us across America in pursuit of the question “Are we a country of gun nuts, or are we just nuts?”

At times, the films point is lost as we are shuttled between the topics of guns, to white America’s fear of the black man, to nationalized medicine, to division in the social structure, to the fear mongering media, to American foreign policy, to our love of violence, to Y2K and finally killer bees. Moore choreographs the cacophony of images and concepts in order to overwhelm the audience. He uses this technique effectively to emphasize that there are no simple answers to why Americans excel at killing each other.

Moore combines humorous episodes, cartoons and an incongruous sound track with strong imagery, compelling statistics and candid interviews to present his film. His technique is refreshing, effective and appealing in an earthy way no television documentary would dare to try. The Opening scene leaves you chuckling at the absurdity of a bank giving Mr. More a free rifle with a new account. The bank staff is oblivious to the irony, as one employee prattles on about the merits of the chosen weapon. The audience is quickly sobered, as Moore shows a clip of President Clinton announcing the largest bombing mission into Kosovo and the news of the Columbine massacre.

The best part of the Moore’s film is how he uses interviews to drive his points home. There are interviews that truly stand out in the film. John Nichols, brother of Terry Nichols -- the Oklahoma City bomber-- is the embodiment of the American gun nut. As the interview progresses, Nichols becomes more wild-eyed and intense. Nichols finally reveals that it’s the duty of every person to rise up against a government that has become too radical. Nichols continues by saying, “When the American people realize they have been lied to and cheated, the streets will run red with blood.” Nichols ends the interview by agreeing with Moore that here should be restrictions on owning weapons grade plutonium, because “There are some whackos out there.” Shock rocker Marilyn Manson, whose music has been held up, as the cause of the Columbine shooting, was surprisingly eloquent, and not the antichrist that the religious right has made him out to be. Manson explains that Americans are kept in fear to keep them consuming, supporting Moore’s theory of a fear filled society. When asked what he would say to the kids of Columbine Manson replies, “ I wouldn’t say a word. I’d listen to what they had to say, that’s what nobody did.”

The movie ends with Moore interviewing Charlton Heston, president of the NRA. Moore asks Heston why there are more gun related deaths in America than Germany, England, Japan and Canada. Heston stumbles for an answer and comes up with “America has a more violent past.” Moore counters with violent acts committed by all but Canada, and presses the question again “what is the difference between Canada and America?” Heston replies with what you would expect to hear from a white supremacist, “America’s problem is its ethnic diversity.” (My jaw dropped, I was simply dumbfounded by this reply.) The NRA had just strengthened Moore’s claim, that white America fears the black man. Moore finally chases Heston off by asking if he wanted to apologize for holding a gun rally in Flint Michigan shortly after a six-year-old shot and killed a classmate.

Mr. Moore makes no attempt at dispassionate journalism; the film is blatantly one sided (Mr. Moore’s side). Numerous web sites can be found that dispute the statistics Moore uses and question his editing techniques. Apparently Charlton Heston holding up the musket and declaring “From my cold dead hands,” did not take place at the Littelton rally near Columbine days after the shooting, as you are lead to believe. Regardless of the facts and figures used, the issue still remains that Americans kill each other with a reckless abandon. If Bowling for Columbine does nothing more than infuriate the viewer and start them talking about the issues, then Moore has accomplished his goal.

Regardless of where you stand politically Michael Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine, is worth your time. At times it will enrage some and others it will make you cry, but it will make you ask why is America like this. I recommend everyone see this film, especially impressionable high school students.