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Read: Fahrenheit 11/9 is the must-see film of our age

It is a safe assumption that filmmaker Michael Moore’s politics skew centre left and that he is no fan of Donald Trump or indeed of the Republican Party in the United States. But watching his new documentary Farenheit 11/9 it’s clear he has little time for establishment politicians of any persuasion.

Very early in the film, and after a long montage of news footage from the 2016 US Presidential election Moore posits a blunt question about Trump’s win: “How the fuck did we get here?”

For the next two hours Farenheit 11/9 extrapolates the theory that Trump’s victory was a long time coming. And while the man himself was not necessarily the inevitable victor, Moore postulates that someone of his ilk was bound to win office at some point. The reasons why go back over twenty years. 

Watching this film unfold is a reminder of just how implausible it was that Trump would become President. Maybe the last two years since the election have been so full of daily shocks and incredible turmoil, we have forgotten just what the lead up to the 2016 election was like.

Hillary Clinton was seen as a shoe-in and even on election night, neither Trump nor his supporters thought they would win. Celebrities, politicians and the media openly mocked the idea that Trump would ever triumph, yet, as the film shows, he did, and the result has been catastrophic. 

Among the slew of evidence Moore provides to explain what lead to Trump’s election is a very curious side story about singer Gwen Stefani and what she earned for starring in an NBC show compared to Trump. This seemingly innocuous issue may well have caused Trump to seek office simply as a joke – the consequences of this have left no one laughing. 

Moore at times uses some obvious propaganda techniques in this film, such as demonic music whenever we see Trump in video footage. He also tries to insinuate some kind of incestuous relationship between Trump and his daughter Ivanka. Sadly this is clumsy, and detracts from the very well articulated arguments that he develops in the film.

He is on much stronger footing when he uses real world examples to illuminate the broken state of American life and the greedy and out of touch businesses and politicians on all sides of the spectrum.

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is used to excoriate the corrupt and heartless governing establishment, and it shows no-one in a good light. Even President Obama is shown up as a collaborator in the appalling treatment of a devastated town. Moore claims that it was Obama’s inaction and indifference that ultimately lead Hillary Clinton to lose so badly in the state. 

The Democratic Party is not let off the hook in this film, and Moore provides strong evidence that primary votes for Bernie Sanders were deliberately and shockingly ignored in a desire by the Party elites for Clinton to cinch the nomination. By dismissing the very real concerns of working class America, ignoring infrastructure crises, and seeming to suppress votes for a credible candidate for President, Moore claims the Democrats handed Trump a large group of disaffected people to draw on. He may have lied to them, but it was a lie they desperately needed to hear. 

The documentary is not all about negatives. By showing the successful grassroots attempt by teachers in North Carolina to gain a pay rise despite fierce opposition from an intransigent governor, Moore illustrates the power that ordinary people still have, even when up against a very dominant establishment. 

Farenheit 11/9 is a very powerful film, and its final scenes where Trump’s rhetoric is compared to the rise of Hitler is frightening. This is a poignant polemic, and no matter what your political beliefs, it is a must-see film.

In cinemas 6th December 2018

Farenheit 11/9     

 

120 Minutes

Narrated and Directed by: Michael Moore

https://youtu.be/SZeLvaflLLc

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