Emergency Medicine

by robbiefreeling
June 22, 2007 10:04 AM
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Sexy Dr. Moore is here to make all your doctor-patient fantasies come true.

After announcing itself with the requisite George W. Bush-as-incoherent-idiot sound bite, Michael Moore's SiCKO officially begins with a close-up of an unhealed wound. From that point on, Moore will train his camera on countless gashes and sores, most of them psychological, all of which hit the viewer with the force of a hurricane. The subject matter is so inherently powerful and frustrating, and the horror stories SiCKO relates are so relatable to American audiences, that one almost wishes that Moore had simply allowed his participants to just speak: to let the running camera record these everyday people's woes, to create a nonstop ethnographic view of contemporary American life from the point of view of those who've been let down by its bureaucracies and greed. Yet asking Moore to unyoke himself from his identity as an entertainer is like imploring Michael Bay to try his hand at E.M. Forster: it's not gonna happen, and, regardless of our own aesthetic criteria, do we really want it to?

Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of SiCKO.

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  • robbiefreeling | June 24, 2007 6:46 AMReply

    Sure, it's all relative. But try to find the American lower middle class in film, outside of condescending, faux-ethnographic trash like Larry Clark films or "Alpha Dog." Look at the attention Moore gives to the sad stories of struggling people in "Roger and Me," and how that film sits in the mind as a misty, grey-skied love letter to a people that literally seem to be disappearing. In "Sicko," the way he brings his camera into the homes of the couple who had to move in with their grown children because they had nothing left after being bankrupt from health costs. I do truly wish he would trust this instinct and rather than resort to grandstanding, simply allow these stories to speak for themselves. And Moore's rhetoric is often self-defeating. But more often than not, on film, most of the people in this country are invisible, so I enjoy seeing the interiors of their homes, their perspectives on their lives and jobs, put up on the large screen, even if it's at times to elicit easy sympathy.

  • Homemade | June 24, 2007 4:29 AMReply

    "this country's most popular and persuasive capturer of the details and nuances of the American lower middle class."

    A tragic state of affairs indeed if this is true. But I don't even think I agree. Moore is not someone I go to for "details and nuances" of, well, anything. And his shameless litany approach, plugging a class of people into his polemical purposes at the most emotionally opportune moments, has the perverse ability to make a viewer cynical. For those it does reach, Moore runs the risk of becoming as disposable as the 20/20 newsmagazine episode his film sometimes resembles in tone and superficiality. And I feel he wastes the occasional success of his emotional appeal with the insultingly simplistic comparisons to other countries--everyone knows you don't get something for nothing, so why even pretend (far after the comic potential has been harvested) that that can be so? I'm not saying it's an awful film, but the guy still makes me feel dirty even though I agree that the health care system is fucked up and violently horrible to people. And he's not even good at equipping people with the arguments they need because he cuts so many corners.