Bowling for Columbine

Essay by jspenceCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

download word file, 3 pages 5.0 3 reviews

There are many types of documentary films that have been made. There are those that are for education ones we see throughout school. They are two hour news stories exposing us to the details and facts of a person, an event or a part of history. Then there are those controversial documentaries; the ones that give us inside details of a murder or a murderer like Charles Manson: Super Star; an event with a political background like the film Waco, the Rules of Engagement. And then there are Michael Moore's films - Roger and Me, and in particular Bowling for Columbine. These types of controversial films exposed raw details and facts that the public isn't aware of until these films are made. In Bowling for Columbine this documentary not only makes your aware of gun violence in America; it makes you think why is there so much.

Bowling for Columbine, is a very thought provoking film, a compelling documentary written, directed and produced by Michael Moore in 2001.

Unlike his other film, Roger and Me, which was filmed in his home town of Flint, Michigan, addressing Flint's economical welfare; Bowling for Columbine addresses all of America and the people that live here.

Michael Moore makes you think and asks the questions that aren't easily answered. What is responsible for the exceptionally high level of killing in America? Not a lot of guns, as Moore points out throughout his movie, because other countries have a lot guns also. Not a very violent history, because other countries have longer histories with violence. Not the love of video games, violent movies or rockn'roll, because other countries have all that too. After watching this film you are asking yourself the very same thing he does: Why is American gun crazy?

Throughout Bowling for Columbine Michael Moore takes a journey around the United States, revealing facts about the media and exposing the United States government in its contribution to gun violence in this country. He reminds us that on the same day that the two teenage boys were holding their high school hostage, killing 13 and wounding others; the United States government had just bombed a Balkan country. It was one of the biggest bombings ever; destroying hospitals and elementary schools killing hundreds of innocent people. A media story that did not receive as much attention as the Columbine High School shootings.

Bowling for Columbine isn't very cheery or uplifting, as is true for most thought provoking, controversial films. But he still manages to mix some humor and irony at America's expense. Roger Ebert called it "a documentary that is both hilarious and sorrowful (Ebert, par 2)." Michael Moore is after all a libertarian making him a target for any right-winged conservative. He does bash the National Rifle Association and makes Charlton Heston seem insensitive, yet the purpose of his film is to make you think and not everyone wants to think that America has faults.

The movie was so well received that it won the Academy Award in 2002 for Best Documentary. Many critics have praised it for its honesty and its ability to touch upon a subject so controversial. A.O. Scott of the New York times said " I hope the movie is widely seen and debated with the appropriate ferocity and thoughtfulness (Scott, par 5)." Kirk Honeycutt of the Hollywood reporter called it "a flat-out brilliant cinematic essay on the issue of guns and violence in American society( Honeycutt, par. 5)." This documentary is a film that will affect all American residents on the subject of gun violence. Michael Moore makes his point with such intensity that after watching this film you are left wandering - why is there so much gun violence in America?

Works Cited

Ebert, Roger. (2002)."Bowling for Columbine". The Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on 3.22.04.

Honeycutt, Kirk. (2002). "Bowling for Columbine". The Hollywood Reporter

Retrieved 3.22.04.

Scott, A.O. (2002). "Bowling for Columbine". The New York Times. Retrieved on