Manufacturing Dissent (2007)

General, Movies, Reckons, Reviews

Everyone but the most irrational frothing-at-the-mouth Michael Moore fanboy already thinks that he’s a bit of a tool. This documentary goes to great lengths to illustrate just how gigantic his toolhood really is.

When you get into these spin vs. counter-spin fights, it very quickly gets difficult to tell who still has any credibility, and to be honest I don’t know if the filmmakers here do have a great deal. Who are they? Who financed their movie? (“Mostly Canadian Financiers” doesn’t actually mean anything.) Do they really expect me to believe the claim that they intended to make a straight story about Moore, only to discover that everyone hated him? I for one certainly don’t believe this, I reckon they made the exact movie they planned to make – a concerted attack from beginning to end.

Perhaps it’s a cruel misjudgement of their character, perhaps they really are just pinkos who like Moore’s message but don’t like his methods. Perhaps they’re the good guys… It just seems to me that pretending that they were lefty fans when they started is such an incredibly useful marketing gimmick, it’s almost too good to be true.

It’s also kind of obvious, like the big fat credulous idiot archetype we all know and love spouting off some garbage on a C-grade made for TV alien-expose ‘documentary’ like “I’m the biggest skeptic you ever met, so believe me when I say it changed my life to be confronted by the Burhobbit while I was innocently videoing rods and UFOs and government black helicopters”, because that person isn’t skeptical at all, they only said they were so you’d believe their lies.

Everyone already knows that Moore uses the same tactics as the right-wingers, he’s the Fox News of the left. He’s full of spin and half truths and careful editing. But so what? He makes very interesting and entertaining documentaries.

The woman who kept trying to interview him – I guess she was Debbie Melnyk, producer/director/writer – was utterly useless. So completely wet I can completely understand why Moore didn’t want to speak with her. (However, I believe he knew something was up, and that is the real reason he didn’t speak with her. If I was in his position and knew someone was making 90 minutes of documentary attacking me, would I want to speak with them? It’s very hard to say. He knows as well as anyone that it doesn’t matter how well he presents himself in an interview, they can edit it until he looks like a complete creep.)

Some of the interview subjects were interesting and illuminating – I didn’t know about Moore’s career before he made Roger and Me, I still don’t care about it, but it was interesting to see him as a thin dude. (He chocked on the pounds fast.)

Not only is Michael Moore astonishingly fat, but he’s also a giant prick. So he lies and spins and takes quotes out of context? So what! Let’s not pretend that we didn’t already know this.

Do I recommend people watch this doco? If the choice is between this and the abovementioned dross about The Military-Industrial-Martian complex, watch this. If the choice is between this and Sicko, though, choose Sicko – it’s some seriously compelling filmmaking, the likes of which the makers of Manufacturing Dissent can only dream of making.

But whatever you watch, whoever it was made by, don’t be gulled. Not by either side of the argument, you credulous damned fool. No one tells the whole truth, they only tell the truth that makes them look good. Don’t forget this at any time.