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Sicko (AF)



Director: Michael Moore

It’s considerably cheaper (and better) to die outright in the USA especially if you’re unlucky and live through a prolonged, painfully expensive illness. Moore makes this patently clear, citing an ambulance ride that had to be paid for because insurers hadn’t pre-approved it, an accident in Hawaii that cost $600,000 for added anguish, a close up of a man sewing up his own gashed knee and the chilling statement by an insurer that “Any payment is referred to as a ‘medical loss”.

The patent evils of the profit-voracious American healthcare system make a chilling legitimate target in this documentary and for some 44 minutes I believed (unlike ‘reality-reinvented’ movies like Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11) that Moore had actually changed his spots. But he couldn’t resist turning up in front of the camera, making Sicko just another “Isn’t Michel Moore marvellous!” movie by focussing on his favourite subject – himself.

Having savaged his own country Moore travels to Canada where, to ensure his thesis remains untainted, he interviews relatives, then to Britain to find an ally in Tony Benn, perfect health services (did nobody mention the recent outbreak of do-it-yourself dentistry?) and even a clean hospital (now where can that be?), and then to France and yet another perfect health service. Finally, to prove his heart (and bias) was in the right place, he took ill survivors from 9/11 to Cuba, that bastion of freedom and socialised medicine where they received free medical treatment that had to be seen to be disbelieved.

Alan Frank

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Optimum Releasing. Colour.
122 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

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

Review date: 27 Oct 2007