Director’s 10th documentary points the finger overseas.
For once, Michael Moore is pointing his liberal fingers somewhere other than the United States, while somehow still criticizing the U.S. in the process.
Moore’s 10th documentary film, Where to Invade Next, presents a fresh approach for viewers weary of the typical liberal moaning of Moore. Rather, the film is a look at other countries around the world and the policies they have, which appear to be better than the American equivalents.
But first, while the credits are rolling, Moore couldn’t resist giving a quick run through of everything going wrong in the U.S. right now.
Once you get past the personality that is Michael Moore, which is especially hard when he ends up freaking out French kindergartners, the mission of the movie becomes a bit “Moore” clear and the movie is “Moore” watchable.
Moore travels around the world looking at other country’s public policy and shows by comparison what the U.S. is doing wrong. After interviewing normal citizens, educators, government employees and public officials, Moore plants an American flag in the office or living room of that person as a symbolic gesture of claiming their country’s ideas for America.
The vast majority of the film is spent floating around in Europe, but a stop is also made in Tunisia to steal the novel idea of free, government-funded healthcare for women. There’s not a lot of fight or bite in this film, but in many interviews Moore makes some passive aggressive jokes about U.S. policy, routinely dropping the jaws of foreigners that can’t believe the U.S. doesn’t require employers to give four weeks paid-vacation, as they do in Italy.
Ten governments are examined throughout, and all of these proposed amendments to public policy become a bit overwhelming. Moore’s strategy with the documentary appears to be an attempt to shed light on as many issues as possible, as he does not spend more than 30 minutes of the film in one country.
During a stop in Norway, Moore tackles the flaws of the American prison system by comparing it to the liberal punishment of Norwegian prisons. While touring one of the country’s maximum-security prisons, American viewers cannot help but cringe at the ratio of 115 prisoners to four guards, who don’t even carry guns.
However, it is Moore’s visit to Iceland that strikes a particularly hot nerve with audiences, regarding the housing meltdown of 2008. When comparing the meltdown in the U.S. to the eerily-similar situation in Iceland, Moore finds yet another improvement abroad for situations at home. Iceland sent more than 70 bankers and hedge-fund managers to prison, while the U.S. charged only one man in the entire 2008 fraudulent housing market scandal. The craziest part of this comparison is that Iceland actually received a substantial amount of legal help on the case from U.S. attorney Bill Black, who did extensive work on the U.S. Saving and Loans Scandal of the 1980s and ’90s.
When watching Moore go from country to country, displaying how some have it better than us, and how much smarter and happier they are, it starts to get a little disheartening as a U.S. citizen. But even Moore starts to feel his inner bald eagle start to soar when he explores how none of these advancements in other country’s policies could be possible without inspiration from the U.S.
The 2014 Women’s Rights Amendment in Tunisia, which provided government-funded abortion and contraception options for all women, made it apparent that the policy would never have been possible without the U.S. Equal Rights Amendment campaign in the 1970s.
Moore opens the film by saying the federal government’s top chiefs of staffs called him in and asked him for help fixing the country. Now that may not have actually happened, but Moore did take it upon himself, as an American, to propose ways to make his country better. Whatever Moore has said about the government in the past, he is still just a regular citizen making his voice heard about the issues he cares about.