Yes, I know, I’m about a year late to be writing about this film. Just shows how cheap I am. I waited for my local library to get a DVD copy.
Well, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I thought it would be a really crass film. It’s actually a well put together media montage. All of the negative right wing criticism must have really sunk into my subconscious.
Yes, you could argue that this film is manipulative propaganda. Especially the way Fahrenheit 911 uses music and slows down footage. For me the most distasteful part was the loud soundtrack of the planes crashing into the twin towers, with a completely blank screen. It was very effective from a dramatic point of view, but its appeal to your emotions I found was just too raw. Especially for anyone watching who had been there when it happened. Plus the slowed down footage of debris falling from the sky, and people running and yelling I didn’t like.
On the other hand, I found the wide range of footage fascinating. The opening section of the film I thought very clever – slowed down footage of Cheney, Bush, Rice, Wolfowitz etc. all being made up, all worried about how they looked. It showed how much of a meaningless media age we live in – all is image, nothing substance.
The section of the film where Bush is told that the US is under attack, and his stunned mullet look was totally amazing. He looked utterly befuddled. Another interesting thing I picked up from all the Bush footage was how he seemed to be always saying – sometimes jokingly, in a self mocking way, sometimes seriously – ‘look at me’. Like when he tells a group of reporters how important it is that terrorism be defeated, then says straight after ‘Now watch this drive’. He doesn’t seem to need to make a distinction between terrorism and being admired for his golfing prowess. You’d think he could at least have announced the interview over, then begged leave to continue on with his game.
His ‘look at me, look at me’ attitude gave the impression that he was an over indulged mama’s boy who always got what he wanted. His stumbling through interviews showed how little he cared or thought about the subject being discussed. Quite often he umms and ahhhs casting around for a word, any word, to fill the void.
Another bonus is the interview with Britney Spears. Being questioned on national security, she actually chews gum through the interview and says Americans should put all faith in the President and just follow whatever he says.
Shakespeare said Truth may seem, but can never be. Schopenhauer said the study of history could not reveal the truth, as everyone has their own truth. Fahrenheit 911 is one film makers version of the truth.
I think it was either George Orwell or T.S Elliot who said that all art is propaganda, but not all propaganda is art. I’m tempted to say that Fahrenheit is almost a work of art, from the point of view of it being a fascinating media montage of the times we live in.