Friday, 3 June 2016


A documentary about America that is situated entirely outside America, Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next is the anti-Borat but with a similar effect, with a greater hit-rate though with half the humour. Whether you laugh or cry is as much up to your response to the film's content as it is to your response to Moore's presentation of it. Both in the scene and in the studio, this domineering figure can't resist placing a personal imprint upon material provided by his subjects. If it's excusable as his unique style of directing, it's often inexcusable in its sloppiness - much as this may be the point, Where to Invade Next suffers from a lack of insight, in Moore's frequent insistence upon playing for dumb comedy over detailed analysis. If it's his arrogance that he supposes he needs not ask these questions, perhaps it's my arrogance to think that I'd do better in his place, but my expectation is that you probably would too. He makes a point of cherry-picking in this most one-sided of arguments, which neither forgives the act itself nor even helps bolster the film's main thematic thrust; as one-sided as it may seem, however, Moore counters the cultural excoriation of his homeland here with a persistent, surprising generosity toward it. It's heartening, if fairly unconvincing, but the light that flickers on every now and then in this tunnel of otherwise utter darkness does supply Where to Invade Next with welcome contrast, a sense that, for once, Moore is seeking not only criticism but also solution. Moreover, above the ethical spottiness of his approach, beyond the endearing comedy that he uses to deflect attention, Moore's just right.