Thursday, July 12, 2007

SiCKO (Review)

I really enjoyed SiCKO. Like most Michael Moore films it's engaging and thought-provoking. The movie goes beyond condemning US health insurance, so my reaction as a Canadian was not smug complacence. The real message of the movie is that the people should have more power in society, a theme that applies to Canada as well as the US. (We especially need stronger employment regulations, a theme I tend to harp on about.)

Those who don't agree with Moore will call the film propaganda, and that's not unfair. His arguments are emotional, to say the least. But boy is he effective. Tonight on CNN I saw uncredited shots from the movie of confused people in hospital gowns dumped on skid row (some US hospitals kick patients out of their beds when they can't pay, no matter what physical state they're in). Anderson Cooper said, "We have been reporting on this issue for over a year and a half." Well I sure missed it. And haven't you noticed that all of a sudden you're hearing about how well France runs things? That's straight out of SiCKO.

I remember the left-wing films of my youth. Many leftist activists would twist any issue to try to bring about their ultimate goal - the revolution, the downfall of society, and the start of the socialist utopia. Leftist films frequently were just a pack of lies and conspiracy theories spooned out to the gullible. It was like there was a worm in the movement making things rotten and reducing credibility. (Nowadays the Right has taken over the role of uncredible ideological extremist, and the Left has taken over the role of pragmatist - even to the extent of being fiscally conservative. Funny old world, isn't it?)

Moore isn't like those old Marxist lefties. Agree or disagree, he is working honestly and transparently to make his case for what he sees to be a better world. And I tend to agree with him. When he says, "How did we become like this?" with a note of despair, you know he's speaking from the heart.

The only Moore film that didn't hit a right note with me was Bowling for Columbine, which was confused and uncredible. (I don't think Canadians will ever quite forgive him for saying that we don't lock our front doors - not that we wouldn't want to live in a crimeless state, but it just ain't so.) And his ultimate conclusion for why there is so much crime in the US - the nightly news - was just silly.

But of his oeuvre, Moore has produced three marvellous, world-changing films: Roger & Me, Fahrenheit 9/11 and SiCKO. And on the basis of SiCKO, I'd say he's getting better and better.


1 comment:

Colin said...

Have you seen Malcolm Gladwell’s criticism of “Sicko”? A description is on my “Arts of Innovation” blog ( Also there: my critique of Gladwell’s flawed argument.