Tuesday, October 25, 2016

MOVIE REVIEW/Michael Moore In Trumpland
Reframing Hillary Clinton In Republican Country HQ

Michael Moore holding court earlier this month at the Murphy Theatre in Wilmington, Ohio, conservative country, during his one-man show filmed as "Michael Moore In Trumpland".
  IG Films

Omar P.L. Moore/        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW                                           
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 

A one-man wrecking crew, Michael Moore exhibits pure political satirical genius in "Michael Moore In Trumpland", a masterstroke of entertainment, emotional stimulation and thought-provocation.  Mr. Moore's comic timing - and the timing of this film's release (on iTunes download for $4.99) couldn't be better.  Exactly two weeks from today the United States of America will vote en masse in the presidential election, and the Michigan filmmaker ventures deep into Clinton County, Ohio - as Republican a county as America has, to do a one-man show on stage at the Murphy Theatre in Wilmington.

In September Mr. Moore was banned from Columbus, Ohio from performing his show (which he has toured in several U.S. cities including San Francisco, where I saw him back in April) - and his appearance in Wilmington, Ohio on two nights earlier this month (only on October 6 and 7, in fact) - a very quick turnaround for Mr. Moore's editing crew - is a bravura effort replete with great stagecraft, some of it executed to hilarious effect.

Using a mix of devil's advocate argument, satirical mockery and a massaging of the mentality of a largely Republican Trump-voting audience, Mr. Moore taps into a deep emotional chord among many in the Murphy Theatre and the viewer at home.  As he does so adeptly the filmmaker uses passion, outrage, anger and a command of facts and empirical evidence to appeal to common sense.  The theater audience itself shifts perceptively in its mood, and what evolves is as moving as the story Mr. Moore himself tells.

"Trumpland" is an effective, palpable presentation - much more so than the three presidential debates the U.S. (and world) was subjected to over the last four weeks - and Mr. Moore captures the zeitgeist so superbly - and is supremely good at pricking the conscience of the American public.  As he brilliantly reframes Hillary Clinton and makes a compelling case for her as the next president of America, Mr. Moore is irresistible showman and champion of patriotism and the fairer gender.  The only misstep Mr. Moore makes is when he mentions that there is a constitutional right to vote in the U.S. -- there only a right in the U.S. Constitution that ensures that voting not be abridged on the basis of race, color or enslavement -- the 15th Amendment.)

The crescendo of feeling - the kind that resonated so deeply in Mr. Moore's "Bowling For Columbine", "Fahrenheit 9/11", "Sicko", "Capitalism: A Love Story" and "Where To Invade Next" - indeed all of Mr. Moore's work - comes through in "Trumpland" plaintively, and without the striking imagery that accompanies those referenced films.  Parts of this latest film, dubbed an "October Surprise" by Mr. Moore, are absolutely arresting and enthralling.

I laughed from behind my laptop at the spectacle of Mr. Moore engaging, prodding and joking with a predominately older, vastly white conservative audience.  The tension in the faces of some in the Murphy Theatre audience is visible.  Five or six cameras capture a fluid performance that never feels like a campaign ad.  Mr. Moore isn't ambushing his subject - he largely resists attacks on the film's title candidate.  The assumption of the political proclivities of his Wilmington, Ohio audience are already taken.  Mr. Moore knows that bashing the Republican presidential nominee wouldn't get the milage in this part of Ohio so he does something much smarter, and it was sheer joy to watch his one-man show unfold in the way it did.

"Trumpland" is only 71 minutes long - tidy, quick and lean.  It need not be a second longer. 

No filmmaker in America can galvanize a country as dynamically and incisively as Michael Moore can.  Mr. Moore been exhorting Americans to act in their own best interests for 30 years now, and he's a uniter who knows how to get America's attention.  The rest, of course, is up to the country.  November 8, 2016 will provide an all-important answer.

"Michael Moore In Trumpland" is not rated by the Motion Picture Association Of America.  The film's duration is one hour and 11 minutes.  The film is playing theatrically in New York City and Los Angeles and is available to download now on iTunes for $4.99.

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