Got the DVD as a birthday present and finally decided to watch it today.
Let me say right off the bat: the reviews are right, this one sucks.
The movie follows three different storylines – a professor trying to convince a student that he should “do something” with his potential, an evil, evil Republican senator trying to sell a new strategy to a reporter and two soldiers in Afghanistan getting into a bad situation.
Those three stories, obviously, are linked together – and that’s where the trouble starts. The three storylines only exist so we can link the different characters together, there’s absolutely no point in having them all. There could be more, there could be just one – it plain doesn’t matter. The only thing remotely clever? They all happen within one hour or so.
Let’s start with the professor: his student is some frat boy and he missed class a couple times. How sad. This then results in a long tirade of “the world’s going to hell” and “people just don’t care anymore today” – yadda, yadda, yadda. Sure, most people occasionally feel that way (sometimes with decent quantities of alcohol involved) but then they get offer it and move the fuck on. It doesn’t exactly become clear what he expects his young, bright student to do – just “something”, I guess.
Also, this wonderful professor had two other boys with potential. They proposed reinstating the draft in class and then – and this is probably the only halfway decent scene in the film even though it’s terribly forced – respond to accusations of hypocrisy by putting their enlistment confirmations on the OHP (they always somehow have the exact right information on their slides to respond to any kind of criticism that comes up) – terribly leftist, fascist, statist – you name it, you can pretty much throw any kind of accusation their way, considering what they are proposing (and considering that this is a libertarian blog).
Those two boys, alas, are the soldiers that are getting killed – yes, they get killed (even though it could be considered semi-suicide). People get killed in wars, what a surprise. The only point to have them in the film, though, is to have them killed. Seriously, it’s that simplistic. They serve no other purpose – kinda like the professor not offering anything other than “do something!”. No background, no motivation – nothing, nada. No idea why they are where they are, why they need to die. All just a set-up to drive home the message that Bush really is evil.
Oh, I didn’t mention that yet, did I? Yeah, it’s a film against the neo-cons. Tom Cruise, finally, in the third storyline is an up-and-coming Republican senator who tries to sell his new strategy to Meryl Streep. The major problem? There is no strategy. It’s just bullshit. And while that gives the film makers a wonderful opportunity to illustrate how stupid the one-liners in defence of the war(s) really are, it just hurts the movie.
If there’d been some kind of plan, some kind of strategy that could reasonably have been expected to come from politicians rather than the military (because this new strategy is clearly a military decision) it could have worked. Use the surge, use some kind of major change – something that makes the movie work. Not some weak-ass bullshit like this.
So, in conclusion: there’s no proper message apart from “everything sucks” and “we all oughta do something about it”, there’s no asking useful questions, there’s no starting an interesting discussion. It’s just whining and bitching – and Michael Moore is just funnier when he does it.
Best thing about the movie is that it only lasted about 82 minutes. 😉