Where to Invade Next
Michael Moore’s much anticipated return since his 2009 documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story,” plays like a companion piece to Bernie Sanders’s presidential run. He could have named it “Cherry-Picking Socialism” for this film’s ingenious conceit of traveling to European and South American countries to discover a myriad of social systems, approaches, and programs that put America to shame.
Moore has lost some of his edge, and his sense of humor has softened, but he remains passionate as ever about America’s potential to do a hard 180-degree turn toward implementing humanist policies to improve our society.
Moore pretends to “invade” countries such as France, Portugal, Italy, and the UK to “steal” great ideas that work.
A visit to Slovenia reveals the country’s free college tuition that gives rise to an educated citizenry who are far too smart to let the privilege be taken away. Of course, protests have power in Slovenia as opposed to the U.S. where protestors are treated like scum by a militarized police force whose actions have scared away new generations of activists.
You might be astonished to see Moore question cops in Portugal about their legalized drug polices that have resulted in a huge drop in crime. Moore asks a couple of officers if they would interfere if he started shooting heroin right in front of them. Nope.
Italians get eight weeks of paid vacations. The couple that Moore talks to are shocked to hear how few vacation days Americans get. It doesn’t seem like they’ll be immigrating to the U.S. anytime soon.
Unlike America’s disregard for its genocide (of the country’s native people), Germany teaches the Holocaust in schools. It also puts up Jewish monuments and memorials as constant reminders of the blood on Germany’s hands. Humility trumps false pride.
School kids in France don’t drink soda pop. Their cafeteria food looks like it came from a bistro menu, hence a lack of obesity throughout the country. Sex education in French schools means it has much lower teen-pregnancy rates, and STDs are also far fewer and farther between than in the U.S.
The filmmaking is clunky at best. Poorly composed shots, and jarring editing contribute to the guerilla-style of the picture. However, the slapdash effect lends itself to the documentary’s sense of urgency at responding to America’s quicksilver descent into militarized anarchy. The film’s purpose is clear, to inspire constructive discussions about concrete measures that could be taken to deliver a more humane culture to America. Bernie Sanders should take note.
Rated R. 110 mins. (A-) (Four Stars - out of five/no halves)