ReelBob: ‘Where to Invade Next’
By Bob Bloom
Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” is not so much a documentary as a travelogue in which Moore travels the globe to demonstrate how some nations have adopted and conduct programs that benefit their citizens, as compared to the United States, where such systems are too costly or limited.
The fact that Moore cherry-picks — ignoring problems that some of these countries face and freedoms denied their citizens — does not appear to concern the filmmaker.
Despite these oversights, “Where to Invade Next” is not as strident or preachy as previous Moore movies. The film has a jaunty and playful lightness that makes it appealing and palatable.
Moore’s premise is that the answer to many of our nation’s problems have been solved in other countries — and all we need to do is steal them.
From a shorter workweek, to longer maternity leave to free college education to legalization of drugs, Moore demonstrates how other nations have benefited by putting their people ahead of profits and politics.
And, yes, in many of these countries — Italy, Germany, France, Tunisia and Norway are some that he visited — the residents pay more in taxes.
What Moore discovered was that the majority of citizens do not mind because they realize it helps everyone and makes their countries more pleasant and livable.
Moore, to better his argument, ignores or sidesteps the immigration issues and the lack of rights for women that many of these nations have.
Watching the movie nearly makes you believe you are living in a third-world country, as Moore continually extols the progressive ideas of the countries he “invades.”
While he proclaims the advantages of adopting many of these concepts, he blithely ignores offering solutions to how they might be implemented in the United States.
Unlike many of his other films, Moore is not criticizing his country, but pointing out how others have solved issues with which our nation continues to wrestle.
In his own way, Moore refreshingly is showing a patriotism lacking in his other efforts. He is less critical and angry, even displaying optimism about the future.
Moore is more an idealist than a pragmatist. He loves the United States and wonders why, as supposedly the greatest nation on the planet, it remains blind to how other countries have created environments that we here are still striving to reach.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT
3 stars out of 4
(R), nudity, language, violent images, drug use