MOORE’S SICKO IS EFFECTIVE CINEMA
by Paul Butler
Michael Moore in "Sicko"
Michael Moore’s latest, and much praised, documentary feature Sicko proves that the iconographic filmmaker really does listen to his critics.
As the anti-Moore websites will attest, Moore is seriously disliked by many Americans of the political right. The general suspicion spills over to the mainstream, which seems to view concepts informed by socialist principals as, at best, eccentric and idealistic. The trick, for Moore, is to claim that middle ground, and argue that it is patriotic to criticize and to expect better.
He does this in Sicko by focusing not so much on the poor who cannot afford insurance at all, but rather those who can, those who are confident they are covered and who find out to their cost that their lives, and those of their families, are simply not as important as the profits of insurance companies.
Moore realizes that public, universal health care, paid for by taxes rather than insurance premiums is, to his core audience of middle-class Americans, a radical idea. The onus of proof that there is something wrong with the U.S. system is squarely on his shoulders. Sicko rises to this challenge, detailing several horror stories and then proving that a systemic fault, not a tragic series of coincidences, lies beneath them.