Written and Directed
by Michael Moore
Running Time: 2:03
for brief strong language.
Sicko was at times interesting, but also extremely repetitive.
This time around acclaimed documentarian Michael Moore sets his sights on the United States healthcare industry. He doesn't go after the industry for not insuring 50 million Americans, but for how they treat the 250 millions Americans who DO have health insurance. He then showcases the healthcare industries of other countries such as Canada, Britain and France and concludes that America needs socialized medicine in order to make sure everyone in this country gets fair treatment.
Something dawned on me while watching Sicko. It's something I'm sure millions of people realized a long time ago, and I probably knew it too, but it's something that really came around watching this movie. Michael Moore is extremely biased. Yes, I know, not a real revelation to all of you, but when I look back at his past documentaries I understand why it took me so long to come to that startling conclusion. With Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine and
Fahrenheit 9/11, I wanted to believe everything he said because I agreed with his opinion. I went in to the movie knowing what it was about and cheering him on. However with Sicko, I went in undecided about my opinion and felt like all Moore did was bash me over the head with his opinion and not really give any other side to the story. It seems to me that a real, solid documentary should give you all sides of an issue and let you decide what to believe. Even something like Super Size Me which takes the position that fast food in excess is bad, showed a person who ate Big Macs every day for years and had no ill health effects.
I find that I prefer documentaries where stories are found within the footage, as opposed to Michael Moore documentaries where he has the story in mind and find footage to fit his point. Documentaries like Wordplay or Capturing the Friedmans started wanting to be happy documentaries about one thing, and ended up going in other directions because that's where the footage took them. And yes, I realize those two might be strange stories to compare, but you know what I mean. Sicko started with Moore wanting to knock the healthcare industry and that's exactly what he did, and no counterargument was going to change his mind. Nor was he even going to let anyone else get a word in edgewise. I was being preached to instead of informed.
I will give Moore credit however. He does do a tremendous job with his side of the story. He'll find the saddest stories possible and make sure he wrenches every bit of emotion out of them. And then he'll take it one step further and try as hard as he can to show up the other side. Taking 9/11 volunteers and bringing them to Cuba for healthcare is a great way to anger the other side but at the same time, hammer home his point. It's complete propaganda, but it works in its own way. He spends a little too much time making the same point over and over again though. I'm not sure we needed to go into Canada and Britain and France and Cuba and Norway (in one of the DVD extras) to get the point across. I got it the first and second time. The fifth time is overkill. Although what it does accomplish is getting Moore in front of the camera more.
Sicko, as with most documentaries, is worthwhile on DVD. It actually plays better on a small screen because you can pick up details a lot better and rewind things that you find interesting. There are a ton of extras, most of them once again hammering in Moore's points over and over. There was the aforementioned trip to Norway, Moore at a Congressional hearing trying to help pass a healthcare bill, and many others. If you enjoyed the movie, you'll eat up the extras. If the movie only makes you feel so-so, the extras will feel the same way.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, Sicko was a typical Michael Moore documentary. He has his ideas and he's going to make sure you get hit over the head with them again and again. He is pretty good at it, it's now just a matter of whether or not you agree with him.
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