Sunday , May 20, 2007
Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, "Sicko," deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity.
Unlike many of his previous films ("Roger and Me," "Bowling for Columbine," "Fahrenheit 9-11"), "Sicko" works because in this one there are no confrontations. Moore smartly lets very articulate average Americans tell their personal horror stories at the hands of insurance companies. The film never talks down or baits the audience.
"This film is a call to action," Moore said at a press conference on Saturday. "It's also not a partisan film."
Indeed, in "Sicko," Moore criticizes both Democrats and Republicans for their inaction and in some cases their willingness to be bribed by pharmaceutical companies and insurance carriers.
In a key moment in the film, Moore takes a group of patients by boat to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba because of its outstanding medical care. When they can't get into the U.S. naval base, Moore proceeds onto Havana where the patients are treated well and cheaply.
This has caused a great deal of controversy, with the federal government launching an investigation into the trip, which officials say was in violation of the trade and commerce embargo against the Communist country.
"This administration flaunts the law, flaunts the constitution," Moore said at the press conference, explaining the flap over the trip to Cuba.
Moore now claims the U.S. government says his Cuban footage may be illegal, and Moore said he made a second master copy of "Sicko" and had it shipped it to France immediately just in case of potential government issues.