Saturday, October 03, 2015

“Where To Invade Next”– Movie Review



This week at The New York Film Festival, I attended the United States Premiere of the new Michael Moore documentary “Where To Invade Next


When other countries can claim a better quality of life than America, what lessons can this country learn in order to improve?


With The Joint Chiefs Of Staff a bit flummoxed as to what the next military move should be for The United States Of America, director and political activist Michael Moore boldly takes it upon himself to assume the role of their Commander in order to decide which country America should look to invade for its subsequent political incursion.  But in taking on this great responsibility, Moore takes a different tactic:  Which country should The United States “invade” in order to steal ideas from them for the express purpose of making America better?

Moore decides to visit Nordic, European, South American and North African countries in order to determine which would be best to “invade”.  In the various nations he visits, Moore discovers that Italy is very generous in terms of how it treats its workers with vacation time.  France offers its citizens free health care; Moore maintains that American opponents claiming this will raise taxes to an unreasonable level are mistaken – he shows that French taxes are not substantially more than that of The United States – and for that matter, their citizens get much more in the way of services than Americans considering how much they pay (he claims 60% of American taxes go to the military). 

In Argentina, Moore learns their law enforcement policies are vastly different from America’s when it comes to drug-related crimes.  There, the police don’t even arrest people who openly use drugs because it is believed that this does not prevent drug use.  The Scandinavian countries may be the ones The United States might learn from the most in terms of both their educational systems and belief in feminism – even Tunisia could teach America a lesson about freedom and feminism.  While some may choose to wear baseball caps emblazoned with the demand to “Make America Great Again”, perhaps in order to achieve that goal, the country needs to look to its past to see what made the country great in the first place. 


The camera lies.  Even in documentaries.  It is an easy mistake to make that when you are seeing a documentary, then you can understandably assume that you are viewing something that is non-fiction.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case.  That’s especially not the case when the documentary in question has been crafted by someone with an obvious agenda – as in the case with Michael Moore.  Moore has a reputation of manipulating certain facts – or, at the very least, timelines – in order to serve his point of view.  So, it is with a healthy degree of skepticism that one must view any of his work.

“Where To Invade Next” appears to be the current chapter in director Michael Moore’s manifesto of pushing Socialism on The United States.  However, there is a crucial question that is never asked in this movie:  If America’s forcing of Christianity and Democracy on other countries never proves to be a good fit, then why should we believe that forcing the European brand of Socialism on America would be a good fit?  In this documentary, even Moore makes a passing allusion to the fact that he’s not particularly interested in getting other viewpoints (in this regard, he may be the left’s version of Rush Limbaugh).

Make no mistake about it, “Where To Invade Next” is incredibly funny – even funnier than purported comedies aspire to be.  But when necessary, it touches your heart and dares you to open your mind and force the viewer to think.  Perhaps the initiation of these vital conversations is what’s most important in this film.  As a documentary, however, it may be a bit too long; although the screening seemed to be packed with Moore’s stalwarts who both applauded and laughed at several points throughout, there were some members of the audience who walked out before the end.  Was this because they disagreed with the director’s views or because the movie needed some trimming?  Well, if it was because of a philosophical/political disagreement, then they probably wouldn’t have elected to attend the screening at all – and for that matter, they wouldn’t have waited until 15-20 minutes before the end to leave.

Where to Invade Next (2015) on IMDb

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