Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Rating 15

Length 2hr

Release 15.11.2002

Director Michael Moore

About Political documentary filmmaker Michael Moore explores the circumstances that lead to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre and, more broadly, the proliferation of guns and the high homicide rate in America. In his trademark provocative fashion, Moore accosts Kmart corporate employees and pleads with them to stop selling bullets, investigates why Canada doesn’t have the same excessive rate of gun violence and questions actor Charlton Heston on his support of the National Rifle Association.


The Good

  • Well made and informative. It’s journalism in its truest form and pulls no punches. To that extent it certainly has a level of fair representation and at no point does Moore address the audience and give his opinion. Now, while it might be implied that he is anti-gun, its not said outright and I don’t feel like I’m having someone else’s opinion shoved down my throat. It gives you the freedom to make up your own mind.
  • The film looks at as many root causes to American violence and gun culture. The film looks at the social history, the political history and the culture of fear.

The Bad

  • I felt uncomfortable with some of the emotional manipulation of Columbine survivors, in particularly in regards to them arriving unannounced at a K-Mary head quarters. I believe it’s right to hold them accountable and the survivors have a right to be heard, but it feels a little exploitative to do it for a film.
  • Again, with Charlton Heston, I felt very uncomfortable with everything that is seen to happen after the interview is stopped. Again, he was an absolute knob. Holding a gun convention in a town days after a massacre is thoughtless and insensitive. To do it twice and, both times, refuse to relocate is barbaric. However, I did struggle with watching Moore follow him after leaving.
  • I found the run time a little too long to be affective when the narrative flow doesn’t feel as smooth as other documentary films out there.

The Ugly

  • How is it that the Columbine massacre was 20 years ago, yet there has been no governmental effort or change to ensure public places are safe for citizens? This event and Moore’s film should have been enough to legislate gun control.
  • The film was bold, it was brave and it made people think. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought it would make a difference, so to watch it now it stirs up too much bitterness, too much frustration.

Final Thoughts

Irrespective of its flaws, this is a film that everyone needs to see. Not only that, I somewhat think its time for an updated follow up that looks into the rise of these incidents and the blind ignorance of the US and their flawed logic that guns are okay, but the kinder egg is dangerous enough to be illegal.

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