Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker best known for his outspoken, critical wit and titles including Bowling for Columbine, Sicko and Capitalism: A Love Story, is back with another feature to rock the boat – this time, attacking the SS Trump Administration – in the shape of Fahrenheit 11/9.
The film opens on more hopeful times, cutting together newsroom interview segments and celebrity press conference excerpts from the run-up to the 2016 US election. Prominent reporters and world famous faces alike are seen pooh-poohing the idea that Donald Trump, businessman-turned-wannabe politician, could ever become the President of the United States of America, almost laughing at the idea. In their eyes, Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton had it in the bag.
Little did we know how wrong we all were…
Fast-forwarding post-results, Moore guides us through just why the Trump administration is so dire for the country (let alone the world), including explanations of the Flint water crisis and the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, both travesties seen to be inspired by Trump and his policies, both of which could’ve (and still could be) prevented if his Republican party cronies cared enough. Following this, Moore delves into comparisons between Trump and The Great Dictator himself, Adolf Hitler, with the big finale a depressing conclusion that ‘The American Dream’ is exactly that – a dream that’s further from reality than ever before.
The documentary’s title – Fahrenheit 11/9 – is not only a play on his 2004 feature’s name (Fahrenheit 9/11, an analysis of George W. Bush and the war in Iraq) but also the date on which Trump became President in 2016. Moore has been a constant, candid source of criticism for the US Republican administration for well over 25 years, and he’s not stopping any time soon if Trump continues to give ‘good content’. Originally seen as the ‘underdog’, a daredevil with zero political experience fighting to Make America Great Again, Trump has become a bumbling embarrassment for those who voted for him and have since changed their minds, the country as a whole, but most importantly for the party he represents. Moore delves into how his election has enabled situations like the one in Flint, where the city’s population are currently left drinking lead-polluted water, and the continued mass-shootings that take place on a regular basis, shocking the rest of the world every single time. Sitting down to interview those directly affected by both events, including Stoneman survivors currently campaigning for gun control, Moore pits the ridiculous against the serious, and it works.
Alongside his problematic views and the affect they have on how the country is run, Moore also cuts together some of Trump’s most salacious outbursts (including a simultaneously hilarious/frustrating sequence where he lists the assault allegations thrown at the men working alongside the President) and clips from rallies where racial slurs are thrown around like confetti. Neatly tied together in a stomach-turning bow, the film finishes with a montage of Trump, sound-tracked by a definition of what makes a dictator, sliced together with archive footage of World War II refugees, those left homeless, starving, on the streets, and Hitler himself.
While it doesn’t bring anything new to the overflowing pool of Trump criticism, the film is very ‘Moore’. At times, uncomfortable to watch and to believe the US are living through this. At others, it’s almost laugh-out-loud funny/unbelievable. Fahrenheit 11/9 certainly plays to a certain type of audience, but – hey – if you’re angered by it, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate just why you are…
Fahrenheit 11/9 is out now on DVD.