we went to see fahrenheit 9/11 on friday night. i hadn't been to a movie on opening night in years, if ever, & i had surely never been in a jam-packed cinema where the crowd was this responsive: laughing, crying, applauding.. it was pretty invigorating. clearly i wasn't alone, since a quick browse of the headlines shows dozens of stories just like mine from all across the country... liberals and open minds everywhere flocked to the theatres to see f9/11, applauded it uproariously, & shattered box office records for a documentary, making it #1 movie of the weekend as well as the biggest non-concert non-imax documentary ever in the history of ever (yes, just like i said it would be, though not even i expected the reaction to be this big).
it is a powerful, emotional film. i had read lots of articles & reviews, both before & after seeing it, so i knew about most of the best scenes beforehand, but they were still quite effective. this movie does not pull any punches, and does a fairly thorough job of showing the dark side of the bush administration & the iraq war that the US media has never shown: the rest of the world has seen miles of gruesome war footage but our tv news has been sanitized of such content... it was rare that we'd even hear about such footage, & when we did (like with the nick berg beheading), we had to search it out ourselves online.
like i say, i'd read quite a few reviews of the movie, some of them negative, & now that i've seen it, it seems that much of the negative criticism is as one-sided and sloppy as they accuse moore of being. either they resent him for daring to be subjective (at least he admits he is, unlike, say, bill o'reilly who pretends to be objective when he's not), or they fault f9/11 for not being damning enough... they fault him for being michael moore instead of errol morris, & hold the film up to impossibly high standards that not even an errol morris or a ken burns could reach. & i won't even acknowledge the complaints of those who have not bothered to see the film.
but most of all, they fault moore because they disagree with him. the most glaring example of this is the much-duplicated review by socialist-cum-superhawk christopher hitchens who cannot find enough inconsistencies in the movie itself so he stretches back to find offhand comments moore made years ago. hitchens review has a wonderful title, though: unfahrenheit 9/11, which is especially appropriate considering hitchens is every bit as unfair toward moore as moore is toward bush. i'm strongly tempted to write a full-on rebuttal to the hitchens review (even though at least one blogger has done so already), but if i do i think i'll have to wait until tonight... right now i have some editing to do.