Using the Columbine school shooting as his hook, Moore's scathing documentary attempts to find answers to the question why American culture is steeped in violence and fear. His interviews with a bank that gives away guns, a high school drop-out who's disappointed he only made number two on the towns bomb threat list, and South Park creator Matt Stone and shock rocker Marilyn Manson are baffling, hilarous, and revealing. Together with two Columbine survivors, Moore scores against K-Mart, and in one of Moore's trademark ambush interviews, Charlton Heston comes perilously close to unmasking himself as an uncaring racist.
Moore digs stubbornly for answers and arrives at startling connections, for instance when visits Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons manufacturer, which just happens to be located in Littleton, Colorado. Standing before massive ballistic missles, the company's PR man goes on about "anger management classes," blissfully unaware of the irony. Moore also follows the story of a six-year old boy who shot a six-year old girl near his depressed home town of Flint, Michigan, to the welfare-to-work program that left the children unattended.
Whatever else you can say about Moore, subtle he isn't.
His most controversial bit is a montage of the sordid history of American foreign policy disasters set to Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." The sequence has already been attacked as facile, but I find this criticism disingenious. The indignant depiction of reality is not a crime, neither artistically nor morally. As congress moves to give the President power to wage preemtive war while a manhunting sniper is on a killing spree in the nation's capital, "Bowling for Columbine" is certaintly the most pressing movie playing in American theaters right now. Perhaps a world as outrageous as ours deserves a filmmaker as blunt as Michael Moore.
The DVD offers a wealth of special features on the front and flip side of a single disc.