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Bowling for Collumbine
What are the reasons for the United States of America keeping the worldwide record on homicides and violent crimes related to guns? In Michael Moores documentary “Bowling for Columbine”, he tries to find answers to this very question, showing the audience interviews of pathetic gun fanatics and even succeeds stopping K-Mart from selling any more bullets to US citizens.
The name of the documentary originates from the so-called Columbine Massacre, a widely reported school shooting that, took place in April 20th 1999 and the fact that the two shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, went bowling before killing 12 students and one teacher, wounding many others.
Trying to find the answers for the enormous gun violence in the US, Moore who visited not only a blind men owning a gun licence, Timothy McVeigh, the brother of who was responsible for the Oklahoma city bombing, but as well as the head of the National Rifle Association Charlton Heston. He gives his viewers an insight to the circumstances that lead to some of the problems the US has had with it’s gun laws.
Moore once again implemented his style of using a handheld camera, cutting video material from different news agencies with rather pleasant music to create a juxtaposition between the gruesome events and the faith in guns so many americans have. Sarcasm plays a very important role in the interviews, where as a viewer you first start smiling at some of the unimaginable responses of the persons interviewed, but then start realising the unbelievable consequences the american society and their gun policies has caused.
Moore tries to find answers comparing the US with Canada, a country with a similar ration of gun ownership per citizen, but not nearly as much gun related violence as the US. He talks to some Canadians about what they think about the US and how it could be that the americans have so many problems related to guns. One of the findings of this trip is that the media in the US finds a lot of success showing violent crimes as a daily sensation. He even interviews one of the presenters of a news agency, talking about how some news colleagues are solely reporting about violence and tragedies to gain audience.
Later Moore visits two victims of the Columbine massacre, one sitting in a wheel chair, to ask them about the event. They told him that the bullets which where shot at them, still being in their bodies, where all purchased at a local K-Mart. After showing some very intense scenes of the surveillance cameras from the Colombine High School, the viewer gets very involved to what has happened that day. Moore and the two victims then visit the K-Mart, where the bullets of the Columbine Massacre came from, but it seems they are unwanted and after some empty responses of the PR Management and hours of waiting they leave. Not willing to give up they visit another store, buying some bags of ammunition. After that they revisit the first store, but this time with media coverage on their side. K-Mart then reacts with an official statement, saying they will stop selling ammunition in their stores.
Moore reaches out to the viewers and shows a wide spectrum of the problem. As a viewer you certainly understand the tragedy of these events shown and also feel sorry for all the victims of gun related crimes. Regardless of the events you must not forget Moores standing point. Using all kinds of different tools and material to create emotion and sensation in his documentaries, it also leaves the question if he is any better than the media reporting about all these tragedies to gain audience.
Never the less, this documentary is truly entertaining and worth watching, even if some questions remain unsolved. There would have been plenty of scientific sources imaginable to find some more accurate way to describe the problem of the US, but there is no way of doing a better job entertaining the viewers and showing the discrepancy of the gun fanatics and their victims. Wether you are a Micheal Moore fan or not, let’s not forget the success this movie has had in the past years. He is truly a genie when it comes to showing people his opinion of a topic, without it coming from his mouth once.