Manufacturing Dissent

April 7th, 2008 DVD Reviews, Film, Xpress

After crafting himself the hero of the lower classes struggling in the modern, winner-take-all America, it’s easy to forget Moore can be seen to be one of them now.

He’s an extraordinarily rich man and if you believe everything you see in Manufacturing Dissent, he behaves the same as they do too; manipulating the media to make himself look better, making life hell for employees and most serious of all — and the charge most commonly laid at his feet — telling outright lies to tell the best story.

Canadian filmmakers Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine spent ages following Moore across America during his Fahrenheit 9/11 days trying to get an interview with the tubby documentarian and have an array of old footage and talking heads to try to give us another side to him. There’s a history of personality power plays with old employers, stitching himself to rising players and dropping them like hot bricks when they lose and the ever-present accusation of falsehood.

Moore’s own films portray him as a down-home, aw-shucks, everyday Joe who’s had enough and isn’t going to take it any more. Melnyck and Caine’s film paints him as a ruthlessly ambitious snake, a man with a huge agenda who crafts a precision media image to push it. Like so many other spectra in the political debate, the truth is probably somewhere in between.

The single bum note is a clumsy short featuring a few no-name documentary directors rebuffing Moore’s popularity. It looks like a schoolyard of kids squabbling that makes the filmmakers look like they’ve run out of ideas.

Moore claimed his enemies have funded no less than six documentaries trying to discredit him, and Manufacturing Dissent is a timely reminder to keep our wits about us — no matter what or whom we choose to believe.


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