Michael Moore's ‘Bowling for Columbine’ Essay

Michael Moore's ‘Bowling for Columbine’ Essay

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Michael Moore was born on April 23rd 1954. He’s An American film maker, author and a liberal political commentator. He has directed and produced four of the eight highest grossing documentaries of all time. In 2005 Time Magazine named Moore one of the world’s ‘Hundred most influential people’. The documentary ‘Bowling for Columbine’ explores the possible causes for the Columbine High School massacre. It has won the ‘Best Documentary feature’ at both the Academy and Independent Spirit Awards, together with the César award for ‘best foreign films’.

In this sequence we see American fighter jets dropping bombs on residential areas of a village in Kosovo. Then the American President, Bill Clinton, says they are ‘trying not to hurt innocent civilians’. Following this there’s a caption reading ‘one hour later’ with the President talking about the shooting at Columbine High School, now a transition occurs where the screen fades to a picture of the schools entrance, showing a plaque which reads ‘Columbine High School-Home of the Rebels. The video changes to a subjective point of view shot, showing someone walking into school while the audio is of a sad, acoustic guitar. As the person walks through the school with his camera he ironically stops and takes footage of a soldier with a gun in his hand. CCTV (close circuit television) footage is then shown of the children at the school scurrying around trying to protect themselves from the onslaught of ammunition and explosives. A shot of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold firing rounds of ammunition and throwing grenades around the hall is followed, during this a telephone call to the emergency services from Eric’s father saying that his son was involved in the shooting is played over the top. We...


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... also exposes the U.S government because when President Clinton states that ‘they are trying to minimise the civilian casualties’, he ‘forgets’ to say that the Americans targeted hospitals and primary schools. If I was an American I would feel disgraced and ashamed of my people.

Michael Moore uses all the techniques of film making like location, lighting and body language to help the viewers identify the genre and context of the film. He produces a brilliant and enthralling documentary on the Columbine shooting. I think the sequence is quite thought provoking. Perhaps it’s just a subtle reminder for us to stop and think for a moment if we are heading in the right direction or should we turn a blind eye to whatever is happening around us? My opinion is that such violence, the use of guns and ammunition, should be totally condemned in any part of the world.

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