Where to Invade Next
In one sense, Where to Invade Next finds master documentarian Michael Moore in familiar territory. Coming more than six years after his last big-screen release Capitalism: A Love Story, the film shares with its predecessor the theme of disillusionment at the continuing influence of economic greed upon social politics and the part it has played in the death of the American dream. In another sense, this new cinematic work marks a departure (or rather a series of departures), because, instead of focussing directly on the problems plaguing his homeland, Moore embarks on a pan-global quest for solutions, taking in countries as disparate as Tunisia and Norway.
With tongue firmly in-cheek, the film’s title is justified in an introduction that posits the idea that the joint chiefs of staff, exasperated by a litany of failed invasions and military engagements abroad, have sought Moore’s advice on where on the map they should next try to plant the stars and stripes. On this pretence, our hero sets out with flag in hand hoping to lay claim on behalf of his country not to swathes of foreign land (or caches of oil) but to the forward-thinking schemes, policies and cultural attitudes that exist beyond America’s borders and which make her a statistical poor relation when judged on many crucial criteria. It’s via the ever-affable Moore’s interviews with industrialists, government officials and ordinary citizens that these alternative approaches are showcased. For example, it’s suggested that higher productivity and worker satisfaction rates in Italy stem from the far greater number of paid holidays they receive, and that better academic performance can result from a relaxation of testing (as in Finland), free access to higher education (as in Slovenia), and cordon bleu lunches (as in France, naturally).
In tone, Where to Invade Next is notably cheerier and lighter than much of Moore’s back-catalogue. While capitalism remains clear as the ultimate target in the sights of this battle-hardened soldier of liberty, there is none of the CEO’s-office barnstorming or publicity stunting that had become his trademarks. Instead, the personal and personable human interactions at the centre of the film drive home its overarching points about the power of the individual to effect change and the need to value communities over corporations. Though this knowingly marks a change of approach for Moore, he is still able to use it to cut to the heart of a nebulous group of important issues in compelling style.
Where to Invade Next is released nationwide on 10th June 2016.
Watch the trailer for Where to Invade Next here: