Bowling for Columbine: Humor sheltering a powerful documentary

Nov. 22, 2002, midnight | By Alexa Scott | 21 years, 3 months ago

Michael Moore once again hits the world with a documentary that throws us disturbing facts surrounded by striking images. Following his theme of mixing satire with painful truths, the director of Rodger and Me, a documentary mapping out the ruin of his hometown Flint, Michigan, and writer of the recent book Stupid White Men has, amazingly, managed to surpass these works with the power of this film.

Concentrating on gun control in America, Moore travels around the country looking for an answer to the unanswerable question: are we a nation of gun nuts, or are we just nuts? Starting at Columbine High School and moving outward, Moore traces America's history of violence. He shows how media footage of crime and bloodshed has continued to go up, while the crime rate in America has actually gone down. Why do we drill these feeling of fear into our society?

Bombarded with facts and video footage, we are struck with questions such as, why, in the weeks following the Columbine shootings, was an elementary student suspended for threatening a teacher with a chicken nugget, another for bringing a nail clipper to school? And later, how is it possible for a six-year-old boy to get hold of a gun, bring it to school and shoot a girl in his class to death?

Using America's words as his answer, he interviews radicals on both sides of the spectrum. One of the creators of South Park, who attended Columbine High School; Charlton Heston, former head of the NRA; musician Marlyn Mansion; as well as endless gun defenders, cops, and students around the United States.

He creates a mockery of this country's firm hold on the 2nd amendment to the constitution with footage ranging from violence crazed teens to self-protection obsessed adults, who claim that you're darn right three guns and an Uzi will keep their family safe, thank you very much.

A two minute animation titled, "A Brief History of America" hilariously states that the white man's fear started this dementia, beginning with the pilgrims leaving to escape fear of the British to the idea of slavery, brought about by the white man's fear of work. The movie ends with a happy family, the mother, father, and crawling child with gun in tow.

Each scene a haunting, enraging or hilarious addition to a film that will make even the most American American want to move to Canada, this documentary will help you open your eyes a little wider. Michael Moore shocks us with facts and disarms us with sadness for a country that has all but given in to violence in even the most unassuming towns. What won't make you laugh will definitely make you cry, and try to hold back from throwing your drink at the screen. After all, this is the country we all live in.

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