Starring: Michael Moore
Director: Michael Moore
Running Time: 122 mins
Where To Invade Next is an American documentary following Michael Moore as he travels overseas to find what other countries do well, and take those ideas back to the United States.
Michael Moore is of course highly notable for his passionate and provocative political documentaries. Ranging from the likes of Bowling For Columbine, centring on gun control in the US, to Fahrenheit 9/11, a brutal attack on the Bush government of the 2000s. Where To Invade Next is once again a display of Moore’s provocative style, although peppered with a hint of lighter-hearted comedy that often makes what is sometimes a rather frustrating watch a lot more entertaining than could have been the case.
You can’t fault Moore for his passion and fervour in these documentaries, something that catches the eyes of many around the world to engross them in a contemporary topic. However, the one big problem with Moore’s films is that, as a filmmaker, he doesn’t take into account the wide range of political opinions that people can come into a film with, and as such is at high risk of losing a good chunk of his audience within the first few minutes.
If you’re on Moore’s side when it comes to everything he’s talking about, then you’ll adore Where To Invade Next. If you’re not with him from the beginning, then you’ll likely never be able to really be interested in his discourse, furthered by the fact that he is as deliberately one-sided and persuasive as always. And if you’re in the middle of all that, then the film will easily prove an interesting watch, but find the political message that he brings into play frustratingly blatant.
However, before we get into the nitty-gritty of the politics, the one big positive that I took from Where To Invade Next was just how funny it was at times. Particularly in the first act, Moore does a great job at satirising his own documentary style, all the while bringing in great humour as he goes around the world overplaying the American stereotype that he claims has landed the country in the mess it is in today. For the first half an hour or so, I was fully engaged by this film, largely because it combines an interesting premise with some good and unique comedy, something that can help to draw in viewers of all sorts of political views.
That more comedic side subsides a little about a third of the way through, either because you just get used to it, or Moore deliberately brings the political message to the forefront, at times doing away with the humour almost altogether. And this is where the film proves a bit of a make or break.
For me, I was fascinated by the premise, following someone around the world (or mostly Europe) as he learns about how they do things differently to the USA, and where things have gone right for them. As a viewpoint to see other countries’ methods, this is a genuinely riveting film, however Moore goes a little overboard when discovering these things, and ends up really toadying to those other countries (in order to provoke a reaction back in the US), but also ended up frustrating me as his reactions and emotions throughout seem less and less genuine.
In comparison to Bowling For Columbine, which was a deeply passionate project that provoked a big reaction as a result, Where To Invade Next – while still made with passion – seems like that reaction is at the front of Moore’s mind, rather than just finding a good topic and telling a great story.
And that’s what makes it ultimately a more frustrating watch than should have been the case. It is an undoubtedly interesting watch, but Moore unfortunately goes overboard with his typical style, and in the end takes away some of the genuine drama of the topic at hand, which is why I’m giving Where To Invade Next a 7.0.