Bowling For Columbine Critical Essay
Essay on Film Analysis of Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore
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Film Analysis of Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore 'Bowling for Columbine', directed by Michael Moore, deals with the problems of gun crime in America. The main purpose of this film is to persuade American people to change their ideas about guns and gun laws. Moore constantly refers to other countries such as Canada and their gun policies to back up his arguments for increased gun regulation. He is successfully able to counter argue any reason given by pro gun supporters as to the reason why America has the highest gun related crimes and death, even though other countries have similar attitudes towards…show more content…
The visuals that are used are destructive and there are images of death and murder which the US has supposedly inflicted. All visuals that have been used in this scene are news video clips; therefore the audience can trust this information as appears authentic. They are also trust-worthy as they have been cut out from newspaper reports and are in black and white which portrays that the sources are more dependable and authentic.
The use of repetition such as ?assassination? and ?dictator? evokes negative images within the audience?s mind. The word ?dictator? will immediately cause the audience to think about Nazi Germany and the tyranny they brought upon the world. Moore uses this to his advantage as the first scenes show a marching army that has been ?installed by US.? They appear to be goose- stepping which is similar to the Nazi troops, and this instantaneously causes the audience to detest this army that the US has installed. They are presented as brutal, violent and evil through these means of persuasive techniques.
Throughout this whole scene Moore uses clips of death and human corpses to express his views. In one of the clips the viewer is shown a dead man being dragged by a US soldier. The words ?American Military kills 4 million people in South East Asia? increases the shock that the viewer is
At the height of the Beltway sniper terror in Washington, there was no serious call for gun control. But the DC police advised citizens to walk in brisk zig-zags. It's the kind of thing that makes Michael Moore's angry and uproarious documentary about America's toxic love affair with weaponry very relevant. Already it's a word-of-mouth box-office smash, and a Cannes award-winner. The problem is that each screening is liable to be a liberal rally where the converted get well and truly preached to. Both performances I've been to have ended with fervent applause and a great deal of earnest Europeans streaming back out into the foyer, their determination re-doubled and re-tripled never to agree with the American practice of spraying the nearest McDonald's with bullets before turning the gun on oneself. They look like the same movie-buff sophisticates who adore the gun-totin' movies of Tarantino and Ford.
Yet gun control does not appear to be precisely what Moore is calling for. In fact, it's not entirely plain what he is calling for, or where he believes the problem to reside. One second he's implying that free-and-easy gun laws are the problem; the next, he's pointing out that Canada, with its equally lax gun rules, and equally lavish consumption of violent Hollywood movies, has a tiny murder rate. (Moore incidentally neglects to give the murder-rate as a percentage of the population.) One minute he's saying that violence is endemic in the US, the next he's saying that it's a paranoid suburban myth fuelled by the nightly news; this last certainly gets a much rougher ride from him than does that other media sensationalist Marilyn Manson.
Even the film title's meaning is ambiguous. The kids who shot up Columbine high school went bowling at 6am on the terrible day, so is bowling perhaps the problem? Bafflingly, this heavy-handed sarcasm might equally be deployed by the rightwing firearms apologists whom Moore clearly loathes. So the making of this documentary was clearly a journey of discovery for Moore himself, who makes no bones about not having the answers. Refreshing, but exasperating too.
This is a very big, brawling mix of ideas and interviews, with wacky clips, spoofs and pastiches, some devastatingly funny and pertinent, some of them pretty lame. Moore begins with an extraordinary interview with a Michigan bank which gives rifles to all new customers; he wonders aloud if a bank really wants a whole lot of people with guns around. He takes in an interview with the survivalist militia weirdos, and a very scary guy with swivelling eyes who was acquitted, by a whisker, of the Oklahoma City bombing. He shows horrifying CCTV footage of the Columbine massacre, and talks to survivors of that and other grotesque tragedies over which Americans helplessly shrug. (How incredible to compare Britain's fierce legislative response to Dunblane.)
And armed - to use an unfortunate phrase - with the National Rifle Association membership card he's had since winning a marksmanship prize as a teenager, Moore interviews Charlton Heston, whose pro-gun rallies were clearly designed to keep giving the old boy fixes of public adulation unavailable from his dwindling big-screen presence. Could it be that America's addiction to firearms is connected to the decline of Charlton Heston's movie career? Mr Heston himself says that America's gun-related violence is down to having more "ethnicity" than other countries, a remark he clearly regretted the instant it left his lips.
Moore scrambles around the film like a big shaggy dog, jumping up and knocking things over, excitably putting together all sorts of possible connections. He's not always convincing, though, when he draws wide-ranging parallels with the US's military adventures, overt and covert. The handgun psychologically equivalent to the B-52? A little glib.
I will say this, though: at the point where Charlton Heston wanders abstractedly away when the questioning gets too hot, with Moore in angry pursuit, the ageing actor suddenly wears an expression of weary, wounded blankness very similar to Ronald Reagan's when he was being questioned about the Iran-Contra scandal.
The seismic events of September 11 presumably happened in the middle of the production schedule, inspiring Moore to open up his focus very wide to global, geo-political questions, when he might have been better off concentrating on the domestic American scene: that is, the mechanics and economics of power which underpin gun outrages. But Moore tactlessly raises the element of race, though with a different perspective from Heston. The underclass is what scares America's whites into owning guns, and it's the underclass themselves who are largely the victims of the crime from which the Wasp patricians can insulate themselves.
This is a remarkable film in its way. It isn't afraid to go back to first principles, or to sound callow or earnest or uncool. And Moore really does look like a lone figure in the American media mainstream, challenging gun culture - a heresy in which the rest of Hollywood's pampered progressives have no interest. For most of them, there are no votes, and no ticket sales, in saying that guns aren't sexy. It's a pleasure to a hear a dissenting voice.