TIFF 2015 Review: Where To Invade Next
In the past, the films of documentarian Michael Moore have stirred, disheartened, and enraged, pointing out hypocrisy and corruption in American government that has depressing and irreversible effects.
He muses he might be growing into a far more optimistic in Where to Invade Next, his hot-off-the-press doc that finds him traveling Europe (and northern Africa) for brilliant social ideas to export (he jokes steal) back to America.
Eye-opening and powerful, if not typically tweaked by Moore, it’s less about being optimistic with respect to what the United States can fix – healthcare, drug enforcement, prisons, worker rights – than triumphing what European nations are doing particularly well. Perhaps reaction will spur some Americans to try and adopt new ideas, such as decriminalizing all drugs (Portugal), or treating prisoners as humans (Norway), or giving worker lengthy vacations (Italy), but it also just may make you want to move there.
Moore narrates, combining the silly with the jaw-dropping, the infuriating with the depressing, as he has done so expertly in the past. Indeed he seems more optimistic; there is no bully Moore here, though certainly a tad manipulative; he cares not for stats, just ideas and testimonials.
However one may resist though, Where to Invade Next has some shocking moments, wonderfully so. Police talk of abolishing the death penalty, teachers forbid homework, and CEOs want everyone to be paid well. Perhaps there the pervasive optimism rests; not necessarily in the hope that the so-called Greatest Country in the World will do something that makes sense, but that there may exist societies that treat everyone with respect and value curiosity, health, and happiness.