Remember “Roger and Me,” the dark comedy (1989) in which an insistent Michael Moore (writer/director) dogs Roger Smith, head of General Motors, arriving camera crew in tow at all Smith’s private haunts only to be turned away time after time by corporate office and private country club security and p.r. reps? Well, Moore is at it again with “Bowling for Columbine,” an even darker, more complex expose of the malpractices of American corporations en masse. In “Columbine,” Moore singles out one theme from his earlier work—guns and their NRA supporters—as the main focus of his barbed video. The opening sequence emphasizing the ease with which guns are accessible here is priceless. In two well-paced hours Moore persuasively interlaces connections between Americans’ unique violence against one another (the video makes the point, via images and statistics, that we are by far Number One—at least in this), government-induced anxiety disorder on a national scale, and our continuing, pervasive penchant for racism. Perhaps the most pathetic testimony to that last is a revealing interview with NRA Chair, aged superstar Charlton Heston. In addition to damned good ballsy reportage, “Bowling for Columbine” features a not-to-be-missed artwork within the artwork. Part way through Moore’s story we take a needed pause that refreshes. We are treated to an animated mini-history of the U.S. that is an hilarious South Park-style send up of the Puritan myth. Some of you may recall that Moore began these efforts to inform us as founder/editor/writer of the Michigan Voice. His investigative press roots bare their grit nicely via the newer video media. As “auteur” in some ways as any French independent film, Moore lets aesthetics be damned and effectiveness take the reins. He knows how to inform and stir emotions. Lefties and righties alike will come out fired up. And the demand for public debate is exactly the point of this kind of art.

—Celeste Connor

- Meredith Tromble [Tuesday, November 19th, 2002]


From the editors