Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Fahrenhype 9/11

Film #272

THE PLOT

A documentary which refutes and debunks ‘facts’ made by Michael Moore in his hit film Fahrenheit 9/11.

Year 1, Day 271

BEFORE: As I alluded to yesterday, today’s film Fahrenhype 9/11 is a counter to Moore’s documentary. Opinion and manipulation were two words I used to describe Moore’s film, and while I decided that it was acceptable to have a documentary like that, I also said it’s up to the viewer to make their own informed decision with information from both sides. This film is my attempt to get the other side of the story.

AFTER: Much like a courtroom, the two sides of any argument have very different responsibilities. Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 was the prosecution - they need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused (the Bush administration in this case) committed the claimed action (in this case, events/actions related to 9/11). However, the defense need only to show reasonable doubt that the accused did not commit said actions. What this means is that Fahrenhype 9/11 has a much easier time in doing what it needs to do - tearing apart Moore’s film instead of making the argument to begin with. For the most part the filmmaker Alan Peterson succeeds but he runs into some of the same problems that plagued Moore’s documentary.

What I was alluding to in my introduction is that both structure and content are both successful because they fulfill the one purpose of the film: to refute Moore’s arguments. Structure-wise it is very well organized. It is split up into multiple sections, each titled, focusing on different parts and claims of Moore’s film (e.g. Bush and the Saudis, Bush vacation, and the Oregon coast). Within this regimented order, the film stated the argument Moore makes followed by “testimony” from multiple different sources explaining how that claim is false. And the amount of things they cite as false is astounding. Some were just issues of stretching the truth and making the data fit Moore’s story (the vacation argument is the best example of this) but most were blatant falsehoods. Again going back to my thoughts yesterday, both of these films have an agenda. Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is to provoke controversy and try to remove Bush from office (back when it was released prior to the 2004 election) by insinuating Bush was incompetent/corrupt. Peterson’s Fahrenhype 9/11 is to provide doubt to the audience and show how Moore’s extremism reduces his validity. But Fahrenhype 9/11 is not immune from that same extremism which leads into content.

Fahrenhype 9/11, while making some very valid points of its own refuting a lot, probably the majority, of Moore’s claims, it also runs into issues of extremism and opinionated claims. Many of the interviewees that are featured have a sense of professionalism and present their rebuttals without a crazy agenda. The claim is stated and bits of information are used to refute the claim. However, this documentary goes off track at points as well both topic wise and point wise. Point wise, the biggest offender of going off topic was the old guy near who kept making very poor analogies. Topic wise, the biggest offender was the Brooklyn Bridge. The bridge was related to a bigger argument Peterson was making about how terrorism is real and very prevalent (contrary to Moore’s opinion). Ok, but they kept coming back to the bridge even in sections that weren’t really about the threat of terrorism. It was just distracting from their rebuttal and took away from the strength of their arguments.

As far as documentaries go, Fahrenhype 9/11 was very well structured which helped it achieve its goal - refuting Moore’s claims. But as has been the case the last few days, there have been some unnecessary tangents which distract from the main arguments in the documentary. They are very minor in Fahrenhype 9/11 and overall it’s very eye-opening and slightly entertaining. Not entertaining in the same way as Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, but entertaining nonetheless.

RATING: 4 out of 5