By now we all know that Michael Moore doesn't make documentaries like our grandfathers did. He's a master of polemics, using his films to rail against corporations, guns, governments, insurance companies, and whatever else riles up his David vs. Goliath sensibility. When his most recent project was announced in May, it was described as a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11 that would "tackle what's going on in the world and America's place in it," as pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter. Now, however, THR says the film will focus on "the global financial crisis and the U.S. economy."
Moore is still "feverishly shooting" and it's hoped the film will be ready for release next spring. At first blush, though, it sounds like he decided to make the mid-project adjustment in reaction to (or in anticipation of) the Democrats' victory. Without Bush to bash, and without the Republican Party in control of Congress, how much mileage could he get out of criticizing U.S. foreign policy with a new President steering a (presumably) different course?
Unlike many documentary filmmakers, Moore appears to start with a conclusion on his projects and then search for footage to back it up. Documentarians often say they don't really 'find' their film, or discover the story, until they're knee-deep in editing, but it doesn't sound like Moore works that way. Which doesn't mean his films lack meaning or substance or entertainment value, just that they're more like personal essays than traditional docs.
According to THR, Moore is now saying that the project is less a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11 and more of a bookend to Roger & Me. What more could he say, though, about corporations and big business than he already has? When he endorsed Barack Obama in April, he wrote: "Corporate America is not going to give up their hold on our government just because we say so." Maybe he wants to hold their feet to the fire until they burst into flame.
If all Moore does is bitch about the economy and complain about corporations, I don't think it'll be a very welcome message. If he tempers that with some kind of rational discussion, maybe about the 10 points that make up "Mike's Rescue Plan" to clean up the mess on Wall Street, that could be a very good thing and a broadly appealing doc.
What do you think? Will next spring be a good time to watch Michael Moore try and stir up the populace with his brand of filmmaking? Or have you had enough talk about the economy and big bad corporations?