Directed by Michael Moore.
Written by Michael Moore.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 7/10/07
Oh, that Michael Moore...always stirring up
His newest documentary, "Sicko", profiles
the American health care industry; through interviews with
individuals who have been wronged by the system and data dug up by
Moore and his researchers on just how much of an influence drug
companies and health care firms have on the government lobby,
Moore's film covers just how much of a mess our system might be
in...for only the first half of his movie. It's the second
half that might raise eyebrows for those who are unaware...Moore
travels to Canada, Britain, France and Cuba to profile just what
those health systems cost for the average consumer:
By going into great detail about how these
four places can provide free health care (or, at least, as close to
free as possible, especially in Cuba's case) for all of its
citizens, Americans look like a big ol' bunch of dummies when Moore
is through, which is certainly one of his goals but is tricky for
the educated film consumer, who knows that even their man Michael
hasn't given us all of the facts worth considering.
So, while this documentary is great, it
leaves some things to be desired, especially for those (i.e., Meg
and I, who watched this in San Francisco after the 4th of July) who
knew coming in that...
...Canadians get free health care.
In fact, I think most Americans know that, but then again, most
Americans don't know where Montana is, so maybe I shouldn't make
that assumption. (Duh...Montana is just outside of New
York.) This makes for a 15-minute section of the film
where Moore interviews dumbfounded Canadians (sample dialogue
from street-wise Canadians: "Yeah, I really don't get why
Americans would want to spend money on health care"), follows a
woman who skips our border for Canada (admittedly, quite
amusing), and interviews a family friend (Moore discloses this,
to make sure you don't feel too much over-the-top-ness) who
again sits baffled, wondering why Americans pay for health care.
...maybe health care is free in Britain,
but strangely unmentioned is that in London (where Moore's
coverage in the film takes place), shit is CRAZY expensive.
I want to say that New York, Tokyo, and London are almost always
named as the most expensive cities in the world, but I don't
have my facts in front of me. Maybe the health care is
free, but if rent in London averages like $3,000/month in the
lowbrow parts of town, health care SHOULD be free.
...any country where residents are
living off the Euro is going to be more expensive
relatively-speaking than it will be for the average US
consumer...so, cost of living should always be included in the
conversation around health care savings, especially when you
consider that if you are healthy, you are receiving no benefit
(since there's nothing to take advantage of). No doubt,
this issue hits hardest when you think about the roughly 50
millions Americans who don't have health care and then get
injured...that's gotta suck either way.
...even having not been to Cuba before,
the scenes near the end of the film that take place in a
hospital in Havana are really not representative of what I have
heard, what I have read, and what friends of mine have actually
seen in visiting clinics in Cuba from a staff, equipment or
facilities perspective. To show us what kind of care the
9/11 volunteers received (these are folks who attempted to reach
Guantanamo Bay with Moore) is a little shady but it helps wrap
up the film, even if it's not quite in line with the other bits
of the second half of the movie.
"Sicko" is still very entertaining
throughout; Moore does an excellent job of mixing up the pace
between funny & silly paperwork/process bureaucracies, serious
stories of human loss due to care screw-ups, and informative bits on
what other services are included in France's free health care
systems (like laundry, nanny, and babysitting services for those in
need). As usual, I still think there is too much Michael Moore
in the standard Michael Moore movie, but that doesn't hurt too much,
either. Overall, I liked the film, but I didn't think it was
quite at the level of
9/11" or even
"Bowling for Columbine" from a raw power point of view.
Check it out!
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard