Where to Invade Next
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, May 2016
Michael Moore, that agent provocateur who stuck it to George W. Bush’s administration in the incisive, award-winning documentaries Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, sticks the knife into his own country at the beginning of his latest diatribe, itemising all the wars the USA has made itself party to and subsequently lost since WWII.
On the basis of its failings when it comes to “knowing what’s best” for other nations, Moore decides to “invade” predominantly European countries in order to appropriate their best ideas, instead. What follows is a fascinating jaunt around the world which will make your mouth water for many of the progressive practices demonstrated.
Moore (now 62 and not looking well at all) shambles his way into Prime Ministers’ offices and school canteens, but while he’s not the most charismatic interviewer on the block, he is sufficiently warm and encouraging towards his subjects to garner some fantastic observations. Our ideal world, it would seem, should adopt Finland’s education system (where homework is outlawed and children are encouraged to play), Italy’s 8-weeks’ paid annual holiday, and France’s 4-course lunches provided to primary school students no matter their socio-economic status.
At two hours, Moore’s island-hopping does start to feel long-winded, but he packs in as many revelations as he can from Tunisia to Slovenia, interposing the earnest but engrossing talking heads interviews with apposite (usually humorous) clips. And while he directs his criticisms homeward, local viewers will find them uncomfortably relevant.
The title Where to Invade Next may feel trivial or provocative, but in fact Moore opens our eyes to many wonders of the modern world.