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It also allows for the free-for-all sequencing that follows, progressing from Moore’s voice-over biographical sketch to his name-dropping of his fellow Michigander Heston, complete with a cut from the rifle-firing thespian to the rifle-firing filmmaker—savagely foreshadowing the film’s final sequence—before alighting on an official’s unintentionally hilarious account of a gun-toting dog, on the way to in-the-field interviews with members of the Michigan Militia and wild-eyed James Nichols, the brother of convicted domestic terrorist Terry Nichols. In both a formal and tonal sense, Moore is establishing a culture in which anything goes, any texture or method belongs.And we haven’t even gotten to the caustic American historical montages scored to the aforementioned “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” the foulmouthed animated section conflating American racism with gun ownership, or the Roger & Me–like petitioning-the-king scene at Kmart’s corporate offices starring two Columbine survivors.Playing a one-liner-throwing David ready to take on the next Goliath has helped Moore reach a mainstream audience. That kind of success can foster resentment, especially when so many documentary filmmakers struggle for solvency and distribution.
Bowling For Columbine Essay
All these projects featured Moore on camera, in his signature baseball cap, conspicuous glasses, nondescript jacket, jeans, and white sneakers, cozying up to common folk or interrogating persons in power.
(It is wretchedly likely that this number will have increased by the time this essay goes to press.) In the United States, guns are fired at or near children attending school nine times per year.
Revisiting Moore’s film in light of this appalling legacy, it’s remarkable how spot-on he was in his thesis.
That vitality may come as a surprise to those who’ve come to know Moore primarily through his ascendancy as a political pundit—his unconventional, attention-grabbing tactics can get in the way of recognition of his achievements.
But while debates around his methodology should and do persist, what is indisputable is Bowling for Columbine’s standing as a cultural landmark.