Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sicko (2007, Michael Moore)

In terms of the issues it addresses, this may be Moore's most important film yet, as it explores the way certain policies and practices have more or less killed quite a few unfortunate people. Moore paints the American health care establishment as an institution that has betrayed its trust with these people by valuing profit margins over people's well-being- after all, people don't sign up and pay for health insurance without expecting the companies to help them in their time of need, making them bankrupt, disillusioned, and even left to die. But in Moore's eyes, it goes deeper than that- the insurance companies, health care providers, and even our government have created a giant cluster fuck that has made this dire situation practically unsolvable in our current societal climate. In Moore's eyes- and frankly, in mine- this feels like a betrayal of our democratic principles, and that a government of the people, for the people and by the people should be accountable to the people first rather than maybe eventually. Despite Moore's occasional- and increasingly unfortunate- on camera shenanigans, many of his points are made by those he interviews, especially British parliamentarian Tony Benn, who credits the UK's universal health care to a renewed faith in democracy and neighborly goodwill that sprung up after WW2 (compare this to the audiotape that Moore plays of Nixon and Ehrlichman musing on the benefits of then-nascent HMO plans). Moore largely avoids the issue of the tax increases necessary to fund national health care- which would no doubt be a sticking point for many Americans who want others to help them but would rather not pay for it- but otherwise his points hit home. It's not perfect, but as agitprop it cuts deep. Rating: 7 out of 10.

No comments: