Friday, June 25, 2004

Chicago Reader Movie Review: The Screed We Need

Chicago Reader Movie Review: "Ironically, the politician who plays the heavy in the Senate footage is none other than Al Gore, eliciting applause and laughter from the Senators as he shuts down one representative after another. Yet Gore's hour-long speech for MoveOn last May 26 is the one expression of anti-Bush rage that I find more persuasive and eloquent than Fahrenheit 9/11. (Even so, it was dismissed as hysterical and misleadingly sampled the same way on every TV news show I saw.) Moore's equal-opportunity ridicule is worth stressing because his film, whatever its effect on the election, is too smart to reduce its stance to Democrat versus Republican or liberal versus conservative. (He can even mock his own paranoia, as he does on his Web site, noting that right wingers 'want to limit or snuff out any debate or dissension. They also don't like pets and are mean to small children. Too many of them are named 'Fred.'') At a time when our national debate often degenerates into factionalized spats based on party and ideological allegiances, Moore's respect for simple humanity and common sense is admirable. The film's most powerful spokesperson turns out to be a midwestern mother whose son, Sergeant Michael F. Pederson, was killed in Iraq on April 2. A conservative white Democrat with a black husband, she prides herself on the American flag she flies in front of her house. She may be a stand-in for Moore -- another portly populist icon -- but the film manages to present her as more "

By Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

Three Stars


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