We know we are in for a politically controversial treat when we see a new release from critically acclaimed US documentary maker Michael Moore. His latest offering, Fahrenheit 11/9, unravels the uncomfortable threads that potentially led to the rise of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The film is a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11, and the switch in numbers is significant to the date Trump won the election. Moore’s opening gambit – “How the f**k did that happen?” – starts the ball rolling as he detonates the blame in so many directions. Finger pointing at political figures, fixed ballot votes and the most interesting theory of all….the music-maker Gwen Stefani. The story goes that both Trump and the singer were on NBC TV shows – she, The Voice, he, The Apprentice – and that she was earning more than him. In childish retaliation, the businessman decided to show the network he was more popular and worthy by organising two fake political rallies of him running for president. Soon enough, Trump, showered with enough adulation, decided to take things up for real.
Moore starts with the compelling 2016 presidential election between Hilary Clinton and Trump. Neither are shown in a favourable light, with much of what we’ve seen before. But Moore uses his well-known satirical wit to narrate from the onset and it all starts out quite slapstick – Clinton on stage with rappers, and Trump eating a burger on his private jet.
However, the director then turns his attention to his own hometown of Flint and the water crisis that potentially risks lives due to lead poisoning. He digs deep and interviews a medical expert who deems the water unsafe for drinking and a technician who was made to cover up the results of the tests. It starts to make uncomfortable viewing as we see black and white portraits of children who are affected and we realise this is a cause perhaps closer to Moore’s heart than the tale he set out to tell.
The filmmaker then litters his documentary with darting digressions of the Nuremberg rally, the Florida shootings and distasteful Nazi propaganda where, at one point, he dubs the voice of Trump over Hitler’s. We see him attempt to discredit the president with glimpses of racism and fascism and the viewer is left with a disjointed feeling, as what started out as simply a story of political ascent essentially becomes a brainwashing of Moore’s own making.
No doubt this film will galvanise the swathes of anti-Trumpism felt on both sides of the pond but it also serves as a stark insight into the unpleasant, Machiavellian world of American politics.
Fahrenheit 11/9 is released in select cinemas on 19th October 2018.
Watch the trailer for Fahrenheit 11/9 here: