“Bowling for Columbine” is a tongue-in-cheek look at gun control and the outbreak of school shootings that began in 1999. Regardless of my political stance on the right to bear arms, I have to admit that this Oscar-winning documentary is very well put together and covers the topic from a variety of perspectives. The most important part of this film is that Michael Moore tackles the issue and leaves political parties out of it. Documentaries often approach an issue from the perspective of a particular party and the result is a whiney one-sided argument. Moore doesn’t blame any single president; in fact, he equally attacks every administration from 1970-2002. His point is further strengthened by the fact that he is a lifetime member of the NRA and won awards for shooting when he was in school. The audio and video recordings from the 1999 Columbine shooting are hard to watch but the parts that left the biggest impact on me were the montages with an anachronistic song played over top of them. The “Happiness is a Warm Gun” sequence shows shootings and suicides then, following a segment about how our weapons of mass destruction are used to protect us from foreign aggressors, the “What A Wonderful World” sequence shows a bunch of foreign policy decisions in which our country was the aggressor or provided weapons to the enemies that we now attack. I felt that the K-Mart part of the documentary cheapened it a little bit because it came off as extremist and inappropriate. Moore could have proven his point without bullying a company and verbally attacking people like Dick Clark and Charlton Heston. Statistics alone should have been enough, like the incredibly low number of gun-related deaths in other countries compared to our own. Moore argues that our media has created a culture of fear that makes us more likely to use guns. He displays this through a nauseating cartoon “A Brief History of the United States of America” that shows our history of fear and how it has made us a violent society. Politics and personal beliefs aside aside, “Bowling for Columbine” is an impressive documentary that represents the issue from several perspectives and makes a strong argument for its case.
[Pictured: Moore receives a free gun for opening a bank account]