Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

Sicko is sickeningly good

If seven years of George W. Bush haven’t made you thoroughly ill yet, then get a load of this.

July 02, 2007

Michael Moore’s new feature length documentary about the barbaric state of medical care in the United States is yet another achievement that should send some lobbyists, politicians and company execs into paroxysms of anger. It is as hard hitting and right on target as ever. By now Moore’s scripting is familiar, an initial expository section where various people tell their personal stories, then an opportunity for the bad guys to put their foot in their mouths and generally show their horns, and then a seemingly aimless quest for a solution, which brings us to a whole new level of understanding of the problem. At over two hours, it is a bit long, and I suppose that it could use some clipping here and there, perhaps in the expository section, though this is the heart of the story. The stories that these people tell are heartbreaking, but Moore runs the risk of losing the audience’s full attention by the time he starts to really get some information out there. The Nixon tapes are very revealing, giving us historical perspective for this medical nightmare, and highlighting Kaiser Permanente’s seminal role in all this. The interviews with the former insurance company employees are also excellent, revealing how the companies consider the premiums they receive as “their money” which they find every possible way to keep firmly in their own pockets. The film really takes off, however, when Moore brings us into the hospitals and homes in Canada, UK and France to get a first hand look at those systems which our politicians so love to denigrate and scorn. It is a true eye-opener. Then Moore ends up on one of his signature tangents that is not really a tangent at all. Having heard the bureaucrats boast about the hospital facilities at the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, he decides to go by boat to the camp with some 9/11 volunteers who have been denied health care in the U.S. They can’t get into the facilities at Guantanamo Bay, but end up in Havana, where the health care that they receive, no questions asked, should make any American squirm with shame, … and then shout for change in Washington. The expressions of solidarity that they receive from the ordinary Cubans that they meet is truly beautiful, and a fitting way to finish this film.
Bravo Michael Moore, once again, you prove that freedom is not dead in America, it just needs far better health insurance.


May 4, 2009 - Posted by | cinema | , ,

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