Where To Invade Next is available now on DVD via Madman Films
Michael Moore may have confronted the CEO of General Motors, gone deep into America’s obsession with firearms, and criticised the US Government for manipulating 9/11 to justify wars; but watch Where To Invade Next and you may get a sense that the most befuddling situation of his career is meeting a French chef who’s never tasted a hamburger.
Moore’s entertaining documentary is billed as an entertaining call-to-arms for the US to embrace basic humanity and respect, setting it against a timely backdrop of police brutality, military overspending, and defunding of education. Of course, most of the Western world (bar the US) has some form of these things that Moore is selling here. The beginning is more an advertisement for greener pastures that neglects to mention most of the downsides of these rosy realities, places where paid vacations, gourmet meals at school, and no homework are written into the law. At times it’s overly naff – Moore insists on pitching a flag at locations he visits, and referring to those he visits as the ‘enemy’, explaining in an opening voiceover that his playful ‘invasions’ are to take innovative ideas back to the US.
But the second half, where Moore shows that Germany teaches school children about the Holocaust to ensure it never happens again, and Iceland has prosecuted the bankers behind the Financial Crisis and turned much of its decision making to women, he starts to work towards a still undeniably rosy, but resonant final statement. Moore visits the Berlin Wall, a supposedly impenetrable concrete divider meant to exist forever that was dismantled in mere days by determined individuals with chisels. Just prior, an Icelandic executive spoke of how change is achieved by groups, not individuals. It’s taking what’s in front of you, and starting.