is through Michael Moore's determination to make us hear his message
that he makes us look into the mirror and discover that we are not
who we think we are. He shows us the culture of violence and fear
that is pervasive in America.
Review by Darrel Manson
and written by Michael Moore
Michael Moore .... Himself
Arthur A. Busch .... Himself
George W. Bush .... Himself (archive footage)
Dick Clark (I) .... Himself
Barry Galsser .... Himself
Charlton Heston .... Himself
Marilyn Manson .... Himself
John Nichols (IV) .... Himself
Chris Rock .... Himself (archive footage)
Matt Stone .... Himself
Seth Collins .... Himself (uncredited)
Budd Dwyer .... Himself (uncredited) (archive footage)
Brandon T. Jackson .... Himself (uncredited)
Charles Bishop .... producer
Jim Czarnecki .... producer
Michael Donovan .... producer
Kurt Engfehr .... co-producer
Kathleen Glynn .... producer
Tia Lessin .... line producer
Michael Moore .... producer
Wolfram Tichy .... executive producer
Rehya Young .... coordinating producer
Original Music by Jeff Gibbs
Cinematography by Brian Danitz and Michael McDonough
Film Editing by Kurt Engfehr
Rated R for some violent images and language.
Runtime: 120 min / USA:119 min
For rating reasons, go to FILMRATINGS.COM,
Parents, please refer to PARENTALGUIDE.ORG
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"Bowling for Columbine" is an alternately humorous and horrifying
film about the United States. It is a film about the state of the
Union, about the violent soul of America. Why do 11,000 people die
in America each year at the hands of gun violence? The talking heads
yelling from every TV camera blame everything from Satan to video
games. But are we that much different from many other countries? What
sets us apart? How have we become both the master and victim of such
enormous amounts of violence? This is not a film about gun control.
It is a film about the fearful heart and soul of the United States,
and the 280 million Americans lucky enough to have the right to a
constitutionally protected Uzi.
for Columbine" was the first documentary film accepted into
competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 46 years. The Cannes
jury unanimously awarded it the 55th Anniversary Prize. From a look
at the Columbine High School security camera tapes to the home of
Oscar-winning NRA President Charlton Heston, from a young man who
makes homemade napalm with The Anarchist's Cookbook to the murder
of a six-year-old girl by another six-year-old, "Bowling for
Columbine" is a journey through America, and through our past,
hoping to discover why our pursuit of happiness is so riddled with
DARREL MANSON BLOG
Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA
has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His
reviews usually include independent and significantly important
few months ago, I began growing a beard. It's been there awhile now,
but still when I get up in the morning, the first look in the mirror
is a surprise. I know it's there, but it isn't really a part of the
image I have of myself. (Besides being clean-shaven, that image is
also younger and thinner.)
We all have those kinds of images that aren't necessarily accurate.
An addict or alcoholic may well have an image that they are in control
of their life, even though everyone else sees differently. It often
takes someone to be bold enough to force them to look at themselves
before they realize their problem.
Moore holds up a mirror to American culture. The mirror shows us a
lot about ourselves that we may be surprised to see, even though we
know it's there. Moore is known for doing in-your-face documentaries.
He takes the camera to corporate offices and demands attention. In
Bowling for Columbine he takes the camera into a bank that gives away
guns with new accounts, to exercises of the Michigan Militia, into
the empty Columbine High School, even into Charlton Heston's home.
But what is most disturbing is that he is in our face as a society.
And it isn't easy to look at ourselves as he reveals us to be.
though Bowling for Columbine is a documentary, it should be noted
that there is a definite bias. (Not surprising, Moore isn't a reporter,
he is a filmmaker and uses the medium to share his message.) But the
bias is transparent. We know throughout that he is putting this together
to move us. In fact, there are times when the slant is so obvious
it moves into the realm of satire (especially in his cartoon version
of American History).
is through his determination to make us hear his message that he makes
us look into the mirror and discover that we are not who we think
we are. He shows us the culture of violence and fear that is pervasive
in America. He does not allow us merely to indict gun owners or inattentive
parents or video games or Marilyn Manson. Instead, we see that there
are many forces at work, but a key element is our own insecurity in
In ancient Israel, the prophets often were called upon to show Israel
its true identity. Perhaps if Amos had a camera, he would have been
very similar to Michael Moore. Israel, like America, much preferred
its own image of itself. But God (and God's prophets) called Israel
to face the facts of their errors and their failings. Looking in that
mirror was never easy. Looking in the mirror Moore forces us to look
into is not easy either. But perhaps by looking we may begin to see
ways to bring ourselves back to what we should be.
important note: This film includes some serious violence.
There is archival footage of the attack at Columbine, the planes crashing
into the World Trade Center, and actual scenes of killings with guns,
including a very brief clip of a suicide. Viewers should be prepared
to be assaulted with many images and ideas.
spite of this violence, Bowling for Columbine often elicits laughs
from the audience. The comic sections help to make the rest palatable.
Moore has masterfully blended various elements of our culture into
this picture. It is enough wild ride to qualify as entertainment.
But it is important because it forces us to look at our culture and
see some of the serious flaws that lead to tragedies.
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Bowling for Columbine © 2002 ALLIANCE ATLANTIS
AND UNITED ARTISTS, with SALTER STREET FILMS, VIF 2 PRODUCTION
and A DOG EAT DOG FILMS PRODUCTION. All Rights Reserved.
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