Film Review: Where to Invade Next
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★★★☆☆ Michael Moore’s newest documentary, whilst another sweeping attack on US politics, has been dubbed his ‘happy’ movie and is a romantic European travelogue. Where To Invade Next might be a new approach for Moore but the purpose is the same as his classic documentaries – to make a point of the failings of the US. The premise of the film is that US officials have recruited Moore to solve the country’s biggest issues by “invading” nations that seem to have their acts together: Italy, France, Finland, Slovenia, Germany, Portugal, Norway, Tunisia and Iceland. Moore’s disbelief at the societal benefits of living and working outside the United States is both a source of humour and poignancy. In Italy, he cannot believe a policeman has banked 80 paid vacation days over time; in France, schoolchildren gag at photographs of school lunches in the US; in Norway, prison conditions are akin to holiday resorts in the States. And the shock is two-sided. To these European and African interviewees, it is normal to reap the benefits of higher taxes, creating an apparent society built on community and not individuals. One Tunisian interviewee chastises Americans for being self-involved, saying “being the strongest ones stops them from just being curious”. In Finland, polite criticisms continue as teachers suggest that Americans abandon homework as the Finnish have: “Your brain has to relax now and then”, they say.
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