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Where To Invade Next


Stars: Michael Moore

Director: Michael Moore

Oscar- winner (for 2002’s Bowling for Columbine) Michael Moore’s latest documentary is regrettably lacklustre in comparison with his other movies. I sadly feel that the filmmaker I interviewed all those years ago for his brilliant dissection of the decline and fall of the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan in Roger and Me might well feel that Where to Invade Next – his first documentary in six years - was simply not up to the standard he set back in 1989.

Here, posing at the start with the Stars and Stripes, Moore (and his camera crew) boldly go into Europe for a series of “invasions” set up so that he can seize from each country their best aspects to improve the life and times of the USA.

The playing of Colonel Bogey (minus the piece’s most popular lyrics, of course) at the start sets the tone of an increasingly thin concept that reeks of barrel- scraping by Moore after the genuine impact of his previous pictures.

In Italy, he seizes upon the (admittedly highly enticing) two hour lunch breaks and eight weeks paid annual holidays for the Unites States where there are no paid vacations.

France comes next, an invasion that generates the film’s funniest, and regrettably all too appropriate line, “As usual, the French offered little resistance”.

Among the appropriate appropriations he seizes upon are (and who could blame the United States for wanting these?) gourmet lunches in schools for a full hour, including scallops as an appetiser.

“You know it’s bad when the French pity you” Moore comments somewhat sourly before moving on to Finland for an incursion into a country that has the beat educated students in the world, something the USA could well do with.

Slovenia turns out to be a magical fairyland where, unlike the USA, college students are not debt-ridden and foreign students can study for free,

Here Moore proves the superiority of his invasion by keeping his hat on during a meeting with the President of Slovenia.

He then invades Germany (less bloodily, of course, than during World War Two) where, finding no fun factor, he at least learns something about Jewish persecution by the Nazis before heading for Portugal and May Day in Lisbon.

There he discovers that his invasion creates the opportunity to appropriate the Portuguese concept of decriminalization drugs, while in Norway he swipes the concept of prison as rehab rather than revenge, in a jail with its own record label and recording studio, to say nothing of a quartet of singing warders.

Iceland gives him the idea of a woman president. Buy the time he invaded Tunisia to approve of female politicians I regret to say that my memory was full and the film had also long, long ago lost both its message and dramatic momentum.

Ultimately, despite some interesting realities and amusing speculations, here, especially when recalling his previous pictures, woefully Moore is less.

Alan Frank

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Dogwoof. Colour.
120 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Jun 2016