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Analysing The Sub Text In Two Documentaries Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine" And Errol Morris's" Fog Of War", And A Comparison Of The Directorial Style Of The Two Filmmakers.

1009 words - 4 pages

Analysing sub text in "Bowling for Columbine", Michael Moore.The very first shot of the film is that of Charlton Heston promoting it, as a documentary the American Rifle Association would like everyone to see. This we realize, as the film opens, is but a spoof that drips with sarcasm, and that basically lays the trend for what is to follow. In Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore's opinion- the side which he is on, is strongly evident. And in his presentation he leaves no place for the audience to feel the need to deviate from his view. Moore moves from attitude to attitude in quick succession and employs elements like humor, sarcasm, music and pop-culture in various forms within his narrative to hold audience interest and at the same time present his arguments.Take for instance the fact that the very issue the film is about- the shootouts at Columbine High School- is not brought to the fore till a good thirty minutes into the film. For the first half hour Moore lays a strong foundation, a base, which explores the Gun Culture in America, more so in Michigan and Colorado in a manner that is suggestive of the trend as being responsible for teenage violence. In doing so he has already built up his argument and when finally, the shoot-out is shown, to an audience whose emotions have already been built up, the audience is inclined to support his point of view."Bowling for Columbine" is a film made on the editing table. One shot is ever so that much more effective because of the manner of its juxtaposition with other shots. Take for example the inter-cutting of Charlton Heston speech at the Colorado NRA convention just after the Columbine shootout with that of Daniel's (a Columbine victim) father. An audience's sympathy will very obviously be with the victim's father, and Charlston Heston will be made the incredulously insensitive villain.Also to be noted is the pattern the interviews follow. In the case of James Nichols (bro. Of Terry Nichols), once the interviewee turns defensive, an entire sequence of examples of American insurgency the world over and the numerous people killed as a result of the same takes over. Following up an interview with a sequence such as this makes it all the more effective. Another 3xample of this tactic would be the inter-cutting of Marilyn Manson's interview with the protest rally.Moore also explores a number of other factors that may have led to the violence at Columbine. Poverty, a violent past are considered but these are shown to be common to other developed and developing nations. This comparison is added on to by the following sequence, which shows a conspicuous disparity in the number of people killed of gunshots in America and the other nations.Although Michael Moore's documentary does raise questions about credibility due to his style of presentation, he does leave an impact with most of the sequences in the documentary. Bowling for Columbine is as effective as it...

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