By Reid Duncan Carmichael
VANCOUVER — Let’s be honest—America has dropped the ball on winning wars. At the beginning of his latest sardonic escapade, Where to Invade Next, Michael Moore points out that The U.S. of A. hasn’t really won a war since WWII, which means that, despite shovelling tax dollars down the military’s throat, they haven’t been entitled to a victor’s usual spoils. (You know, the death of communism, cheap oil, and the elusive WMD.)
So Moore, beloved socialist documentarian, planned his own campaign. Hat on head, flag in hand, he set out to invade countries that America can actually take something from, things America needs more than oil or power. Foreign concepts like “health care,” “rehabilitating prisons,” and “healthy school lunches.” Yes—commie things. And even he was surprised to find how far America has fallen.
Moore’s premise is ambitious, but as far as documentaries go, it’s a well-realized piece of art that makes a point: The U.S. spends too much money on its military and not enough on the health and happiness of its people. But while some of the ideas that Moore wants to steal are obvious to us Canadians, some are exciting finds, and some are downright surprising—did you know there’s a Muslim country in Northern Africa that has comprehensive women’s health care including free birth control and abortions?
True to Moore’s style, the film shows rather than tells. Moore plays his part well, but he lets the footage speak for itself. Almost everyone interviewed was surprised to hear that America wasn’t as great as it let on and that added volume and depth to his argument. “What do you mean you don’t have government-mandated vacation time in America?” quizzed one Italian couple that had nine weeks of it. His points were made well from one interview to the next and all he had to do was pit the idiocy of the current American standard against their foreign counterparts. Bravo Michael.
Free education may still be a foreign concept, but Where to Invade Next is a cheap (and pirate-able) alternative to a foreign policy class. It makes a point and a case throughout its seductive narrative. It’s entertaining to watch while staying true to itself. It’s heartfelt, bold, and informative. In the age of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, this is a must-see—especially since Canada has a lot to learn, too.
Where to Invade Next is currently in limited release and can be seen at Fifth Avenue Cinemas and International Village in Vancouver.BC, British Columiba, documentary, Fifth Avenue Cinemas, International Village, Michael Moore, Where To Invade Next