|Mike Moore examines the state of the US health care service and finds it's not especially well.
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Rating / Running Time
PG / 118 minutes
(c) moviereview 2006-2007
ABN 72 775 390 361
Michael Moore made the jump from appreciated documentarian to household name
with Bowling for Columbine. It
wasn’t necessarily the subject matter, nor the Academy Award winning qualities
of his film. It was that acceptance
speech in which he vilified President Bush to a booing chorus inside the
auditorium, and a cheering world outside. He went on to make one of the
most-seen documentaries of our time – Fahrenheit
9/11 – in which he raised serious questions about the US administration’s
reaction to the attacks of September 2001. Moore became a superstar and created
a cottage industry in which he became the object of vilification, most recently
Dissent. They claim his methods are dishonest and Good Guy Moore is the
public persona for an untrustworthy, paranoid and unlikeable man who picked on
Charlton Heston. Boo hoo.
Brushing aside the ants, Moore turns his attention to the state of America’s
notoriously inadequate health care. Sicko
examines the cost of illness in the US, literally and metaphorically. With
trademark bravado, humour, irony and pathos, he compares their system with that
of Britain, France, Canada and Cuba. The results will make your stomach churn.
From unbearable costs worn by the unwell to sneaky insurance companies and profit-motivated
hospital networks who dump cash-strapped patients on the footpath, Moore lays bare a government endorsed plan (President Nixon
paved the way for corporate, rather than socially, managed health care) that is
well and truly sick. For added emphasis he stages a series of stunts - notably taking struggling
9/11 volunteers to Guantanamo Bay – with typically entertaining results.
they end up in a suspiciously shiny Cuban hospital raises the question of
whether absolute fact should get in the way of the documentary process. Do the
ends justify the means? Dissenters argue that he distorts truth for his cause,
that of Showman Mike. Others like Moore believe that cameras automatically
subvert truth; it’s a natural part of documentary filmmaking. Argument aside, Sicko is packed with cause for concern
and pause for thought. It is insightful filmmaking at its most creative. It is
a film that makes one truly thankful you don’t rely on American health-care. It
is a wakeup call not to vote for a guy in the pocket of drug companies. It
makes you consider moving to France.
// COLIN FRASER