Bowling For Columbine Documentary Analysis Essay

Length: 9 pages Sources: 9 Subject: Law - Constitutional Law Type: Essay Paper: #94414808 Related Topics: Documentary Film, Gun Control, Root Cause Analysis, Gun Laws
Excerpt from Essay :

Michael Moore's Bowling For Columbine

Michael Moore's motion picture Bowling for Columbine provides insight into the Columbine High School Massacre Event in 1999 and into a series of incidents such as the U.S.' tendency to promote weapons and conflict. This film attempts to provide information with regard to the background of gun use in the U.S. And the consequences associated with this respective enterprise. The film is meant to generate controversy as a result of the delicate topics it addresses and most viewers are likely to be left with the feeling that there are a lot of questions that the authorities and the U.S. As a whole refuse to acknowledge.

Moore's characteristic attitudes are definitely present in Bowling for Columbine, as it becomes obvious that the film is meant to impress from the very first scenes. The typical American morning contains a series of disturbing references to a presumably peaceful nation's tendency to embrace conflict as a means to achieve progress.

It is only safe to say that the film provides information regarding the gun culture present in the U.S. The motion picture uses footage showing people's appreciation of this respective culture as a means to justify its existence. Documentaries have been seeing a steady rise in market share during recent decades and Moore exploited this concept with the purpose of presenting the public with exactly what it had been looking for. One of the reasons why Moore chose to design his work in the form of a documentary film is that this type of motion picture typically involves lower budgets and its popularity during recent years has lead to a series of documentaries to see significant earnings. "The controversial documentary, which examines the roots and consequences of American violence and obsession with guns, cost roughly $10 million to make and by early 2003 had grossed over $30 million, surpassing Roger and Me and Hoop Dreams to become the highest grossing documentary of all time." (Sachleben & Yenerall 152)

Moore released this film during a critical period for the U.S. As a whole, as people were confused with the benefits that gun laws provided them with and with the fact that some individuals could easily get their hands on guns. This contributed to the film's success, taking into account that numerous individuals perceived it as an instructional motion picture meant to provide more information with regard to why it would be wrong to continue to support a gun culture.

Bowling for Columbine basically arrived at a time when the world needed it, thus making it possible for Moore to experience success by introducing his perspective concerning gun laws in the U.S. Editing was an essential part of production, as the film involves editing scenes showing some of history's most controversial events involving guns and conflict. Archival footage is used throughout the film with the purpose to emphasize Moore's point-of-view and to have viewers better acquainted with a concept that can be considered largely responsible for problems in the U.S.

What is intriguing about the film's production is that many of the individuals involved in this process were interns who concentrated on gaining experience in the field. "Production ran smoothly and most described it as a learning experience." (Schultz 180) One of the persons involved in production claimed that Moore had producers watch Gillo Pontecorvo's 1966 film The Battle of Algiers in order to gain a more complex understanding concerning the truthiness that he wanted in Bowling for Columbine. Moore wanted his film to put across a feeling of a "performance of truth," as he knew that this was the most effective way to reach out to audiences.

According to Geivett and Spiegel (157), Moore wanted his film to relate to the nature of American people in general, not just to the condition of gun violence in the U.S. The director practically uses this...


The intense feelings the film put across are directed toward individuals who are yet to make up their minds about the gun situation in the country and need incentive in order to be able to play an active role in installing harsher legislations. Moore practically brings on the 'guns don't kill people -- people kill people' expression with the purpose of having Americans realize that the problems is rooted in the American way of life rather than in a few laws that are permissive with regard to guns. "Addmitedly surprised by his own conclusion, in Bowling for Columbine Moore suggests that the problem of violence in America is really rooted in the American people." (Geivett & Spiegel 157)

Moore took things further than most documentarians by making it personal in hope that this is going to generate a range of emotions and that it would eventually raise public awareness concerning the imminent dangers associated with permissive gun laws. "In place of many arguments against forms of factual television, a species of 'popular culturalist' argument endorses the forms as popular and popularist programming which invites viewers 'to rethink and possibly revalue' their attitudes to ethical, social, and political issues." (Beattie 183)

Bowling for Columbine is, as a whole, an event-centered documentary film, taking into account that its very title is eponymous. The director concentrated on portraying the Columbine Massacre from a more general point-of-view in order to enable viewers to observe events leading to this episode and to comprehend that it would be wrong for someone to simply blame the persons involved in the conflict for the catastrophe.

Michael Rabiger's article "Directing the Documentary" emphasize the importance of discussing an event's background when relating to the respective occurrence. The fact that he regards an event-centered documentary as a film that requires more than one cameras contributes to understanding why Moore wanted to present archives and to consult a series of people with regard to the film's topic. The persons he interviews are not necessarily among the most qualified to relate to gun control. Even with this, the fact that individuals like Chris Rock and Marilyn Manson express their perspective on the event actually emphasizes the importance of listening to the masses. These people simply provide points-of-view characteristic to simple people. While the U.S. acts as a whole when it promotes gun laws as beneficial for the community, it sometimes fails to acknowledge that it would also be important to take a more individual-centered approach at discussing the subject. Simple people are more likely to express honest ideas and to attempt to explain why they believe permissive gun laws to be one of the main reasons why the country is experiencing problems.

While it has a completely different subject when compared to Juan Francico Urrusti's A Long Journey to Guadalupe, Bowling for Columbine contains most of the ingredients required for it to be identified as an event-centered documentary film (Rabiger 337). It too discusses the historical and cultural perspective of gun laws in the U.S. And on how people in the country feel with regard to guns. Individuals in the U.S. are deeply connected by their country's history and guns have come to represent an essential part of their background. This made it difficult for them to understand the consequences of having permissive gun laws and Moore's documentary is aimed at opening their eyes.

As previously mentioned, Bowling for Columbine is, in addition to being an informative material, the director's attempt to put across his personal feelings with regard to gun laws in the U.S. Moore wants the film to send a message related to individuals in the country and their tendency to ignore the threat within their community on account of thinking that this is part of who they are. The film "is the voice of a filmmaker setting out to take a position regarding an aspect of this historical world and to convince us of its merits." (Nichols 49)

Moore resorts to addressing Americans by making it possible for them to see that matters are more complex than they might be inclined to see. While the film refers to the Columbine incident, it is also meant to address a more general issue concerning guns. This is purposed to have viewers understand that they too play a role in keeping gun culture an important part of American culture.

The film promotes the idea that guns are currently responsible for a great deal of crimes occurring throughout the U.S. And also tries to get viewers to step in and do something about this. Moore does not hesitate to acknowledge that he, just as everyone else, is equally responsible for the American gun culture. Just as he wants to make people in the U.S. feel guilty for crimes involving guns, he emphasizes that he too is responsible for these problems. "Again, Moore opens the film by situating himself in relation to his topic with footage of him receiving his first gun as a youth accompanied by "I was born in Michigan" on the…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works cited:

Beattie, Keith, "Up Close and Personal: Popular Factual Entertainment"

Chapman, Jane, "Issues in Contemporary Documentary," (Polity, 17 Aug 2009)

Geivett, R. Douglas, and Spiegel, James S., "Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen," (InterVarsity Press, 20 Aug 2009)

Kellner, Douglas M., "Cinema Wars: Hollywood Film and Politics in the Bush-Cheney Era," (John Wiley & Sons, 13 Sep 2011)

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