Fahrenheit 11/9: As funny as anything Michael Moore has done

Review: Moore takes aim at Trump with satire, stunts and sometimes unreliable reporting

The official trailer for Fahrenheit 11/9, the latest documentary from filmmaker Michael Moore.

Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 11/9: feels as reassuring as it is enraging

Film Title: Fahrenheit 11/9

Director: Michael Moore

Starring: Michael Moore, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 120 min

Thu, Oct 18, 2018, 06:00


Like Jean-Luc Godard, Michael Moore can be relied upon to give enthusiasts exactly what they expect. The Frenchman (who probably regards Moore as a bit of a reactionary) wheels out baffling screeds scored to ear-blasting excerpts from high and low art.

Moore deals in comic satirical montage, dubious stunts and powerful – if sometimes unreliable – reporting from the front line. The beats have been very much the same since Bowling for Columbine in 2002.

It was only a matter of time before he brought his aesthetic to the Trump Wars and, though the usual flaws are in place, Fahrenheit 11/9 feels as reassuring as it is enraging. There are terrible truths in here, but there is also conformation that righteous anger can accommodate sneaky humour.

The picture is more scattershot than ever. It begins and ends with differently pitched eviscerations of Trump’s rise. The middle section stands as a survey of the USA as Michael now sees it: a return to his hometown of Flint for a dissection of that city’s water crisis; a study of the inspiring teachers strike in West Virginia; a consideration of the young left-leaning Democrats who are re-energising the party.

The good news is that the least engaging version of Michael – the Merry Prankster who loves to annoy the low-ranking official standing between him and the properly powerful – has little to do in the new film. Nothing is to be gained from his attempt to impose a citizen’s arrest on the governor of Michigan. It’s not funny. It makes no argument. I feel sorry for the security guy at the desk in the State capital.

All that passes in a flash. In happy contrast, the lengthier, more numerous comic montages are as amusing as anything he’s ever done. The cuts, on election night, between an initially hopeful Clinton HQ (bouncy expectation leading into mournful despair) and an initially guarded Trump camp (blue-haired gloom leading into Wagnerian triumph) allow our hero endless opportunities to employ his trademark sarcastic drawl. The final warning against totalitarianism is stark.

Of course, it’s very familiar. Of course, it will play largely to the converted. But, in these times, the left must take its comfort food where it can find it.