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“Bowling for Columbine” is another remarkable documentary directed and written by Michael Moore. The film grossed more than 58 million dollars with a budget of only 4 million. Becoming the highest-grossing documentary in Austria, Australia and United Kingdom. 2004 the record was broken by Moore’s next documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11”, which is now the most successful documentary worldwide.
The story of Bowling for Columbine is based on the massacre of Columbine, where two boys killed twelve students and a teacher and wounded 24 more people with bullets bought in K-Mart. In the film he shows how easy it is for everyone to get a gun and which problems that offers. Michael Moore also tries to figure out, why there are more than 11.000 dead people because of guns in the U.S. annually.
It’s a typical Moore documentary making it a mixture of handheld shots on the streets, many scenes from the news and picture slideshows. The original film material is supported by very sarcastic comments of the director and different songs.
The name of the film was chosen for the reason that the two murderers were bowling in the morning before the attack. The documentary starts with an, especially for European people, odd scene in a bank in Michigan. Michael Moore is opening an account and gets a free hunting rifle. When filling out the form he asks if being mentally defective would be a problem and the woman says no. Only being involved in a crime would be a problem.
By interviewing some people he finds out that many of them think it is necessary to have at least one gun to protect you and your family.
In the further course he compares the gun levels of the U.S. to the levels of Canada and finds out that it is nearly the same. But why are there only 165 death people in Canada compared to the 11.127 in the U.S.? To find out, why there is such a big difference he visits the neighborhoods in Canada. The Canadians listen to the same music, watch the equal violent films and also play video games like the people in the U.S.A.. Michael Moore also shows us how easy it is to get bullets as many as you want and that in every Wall-Mart. There is only a little difference: The most Canadians trust their neighbors so that they don’t even lock their front doors. It is an extreme contrast to the pictures Moore showed before in the U.S.A., where the people have three or more locks at the door and big railings in front.
In a very important scene Moore takes two victims of the Columbine massacre, one is since the attack confined to a wheelchair, to the K-Mart, where the two boys have bought the bullets. He sends one into the shop to look how many bullets he could buy. He comes back with three bags full of munitions. Moore confronts the assistants with three bags and asks for the management but they just let him wait for hours. So he just does the right thing and informs the press. Some minutes later he goes again into the K-Mart but with many journalists behind him. They confirm that they will remove all the bullets from every shop in the next nine month.
It is a remarkable film with many different aspects. Bowling for Columbine is a good mix with scenes from observation cameras, interesting interviews and short comics. It makes you think about the culture and the way the Americans handle with violence.
Wether if you like Michael Moore or not he is very good in showing his opinion about a topic without saying it once. During the whole film he never tells what he thinks about the NRA and gun laws in the USA but with the tricky and sarcastic questions he asks during the interviews he succeeds to catch his interview partners napping and make them look ridiculous. By showing at first the arguments and opinions of the others and refuting them immediately he makes the movie somehow entertaining and leaves no scope for any other opinion.
Interesting Facts about guns in the USA:
- In 2015, it’s projected that for the first time more people will die by guns than by motor vehicles.
- At the current rate, 339.000 Americans will die by guns in the next 10 years.
- The states with the loosest firearm regulation also have the highest number of annual deaths by gun.
- In Iowa blind people are allowed to carry guns in public.
written by Mathias S.