Reel Shorts | Sicko

29 06 2007

In his 20-year career, Michael Moore has attracted his share of supporters and haters. His scathing exposes have captured automotive jobs being outsourced to other countries, unfair gun laws and the inner-workings of the Bush administration taking the country to war in Iraq. All of those previous films are just a warm-up for his latest work, the brilliant documentary “Sicko.”

Moore’s latest film places the bull’s-eye squarely on the health care industry demonstrating the suffocating influence that the pharmaceutical companies wield over average Americans. With over 50 million Americans living without health insurance, the film shows how individuals sometimes make hard choices on the best way to get medical care.

To illustrate the absurdity of Americans footing the bill for their medical care, Moore looks at the universal health care systems in place in Canada, England, France and Cuba.

The odious smell permeates all factions of this film from politicians whose campaigns are subsidized by sizable donations from pharmaceutical companies, major health care providers who look for loopholes to disqualify policyholders or hospitals who dump poor patients who can’t pay their bills.

After success with “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Bowling for Columbine” and “Roger and Me,” Moore has become a lightning rod for the conservative movement. Though his films are usually one-sided and focused on specific objectives, Moore has a point to make and he hammers it home effectively. Many pundits have tried to paint Moore as anti-American but, in my opinion, he is a proud cinematic patriot who seeks to shine a light on the inequities of our culture.

By the time you reach the film’s conclusion, you too will wonder as Moore does early in the film when he asks “what type of society are we? “Sicko” is equal measure funny and sad but always thoughtful and provocative making it must-see-cinema and the first important film of the year.

Grade: A-

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