Friday, July 27, 2007

Sicko (2007)

(Directed by Michael Moore, 2007, USA)

Michael Moore's latest documentary "Sicko" is rather depressing to watch, as the realization that 47 million Americans are without health insurance (a point mentioned at the beginning of the film). Well at least I was depressed. Moore makes the case that the American system of health care is broken, corrupt and needs to be fixed. Sure, that's very much what everyone knows, and (after dealing with health care officials recently), he's pretty much preaching to the converted with me.

After showing various health care horror stories, he goes on a travelogue to examine the health care systems for Canada, England, and France. Propaganda (or should I say ad hominem arguements) that socialized medicine is better than what we have in the good ol' USA. Of course it is, but then he lost me when he went on to get his digs at Hillary Clinton when she was trying to push for that in the Clinton White House and (while not bothering with the censuring and demonizing she encountered when she proposed National Health Care), he claims she's been bought out for her silence over the failure of her bill (and now she's getting endorsements from health care companies as a reward). Holy revisionist history, Fatman! I mean Batman!
Moore tried similar tactics with "Fahrenheit 9/11", stating as 'pseudo-fact' that no congressional reps read the "Patriot Act". Yeah, well that's true but it's a disservice to just report that fact and either willingly deny or avoid the real facts of the case: most politicians do not read everything put forward to them (they have aides for that) and most egregiously, the Patriot Act was pushed through in a relatively short time. To ignore that fact and bend truth and facts to suit your argument is just basically dishonest. And Moore does just that with extolling various health systems of Canada, France and the U.K.: he just mines the surface with his "golly gee" schtick and doesn't bother to show any underside. Why are taxes so much in Canada and France? Duh...

"Sicko" is a pseudo-documentary masquerading as another 'public service' announcement. It might behoove Moore if he actually made agitprop documentaries like the late Emilio de Antonio did, but then he wouldn't get the corporate bucks funding to continue with his jester activities. As it is, his argument is rather weak and shallow: the U.S. health care system (like America in general) is in trouble, it's too bad that this 'documentary' doesn't give you a complete picture. Yet we as Americans these days get the president and the 'entertainment' we deserve, this just follows suit apparently.

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