It’s often said that timing is everything. In the case of Oscar-winning doc filmmaking legend Michael Moore and his new movie “Fahrenheit 11/9” (Dog Eat Dog/Midwestern), about the Trump presidency (among other things), the timing couldn’t be better.
Bob Woodward’s Donald Trump tell-all book “Fear: Trump in the White House” is poised to debut near the top of the “New York Times Best Sellers List” (a few spots above Omarosa Manigault Newman’s “Unhinged” which also eviscerates Trump). Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation has snagged several prized characters from Trump-world, Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS future is in question and the potentially crushing 2018 mid-term elections loom large.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” plays on the title of Moore’s 2004 documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11”, opening with the sad reminder of election night 2016. It also wastes no time in recalling Moore’s prophetic “dismiss him at your own peril” line, which was even quoted by Fox News. In an attempt to answer the burning question, “How the fuck did this happen?”, Moore makes the case of pinning it on Gwen Stefani, whose higher salary on “The Voice” than Trump’s on “The Apprentice”, led to a temper tantrum (and later, Trump’s firing from NBC for racist remarks), resulting in a run for POTUS.
Already a media-whore of the highest degree, Trump took advantage of the opportunity and received more coverage, welcome and unwelcome, than one might have thought humanly possible. As it turns out, Trump has something in common with the media moguls he alternately trounces and praise: they all have a history of being sexual predators. The scenes with Trump and daughter Ivanka are particularly unsettling. This revelation, something with which most viewers will be familiar, is one of a series of moments where we are not necessarily hearing about Trump for the first time. It’s simply a case of having some of these disclosures presented in this format.
However, Trump is not the director’s only target. Moore shares the wealth of his rage in familiar territory for him. His Michigan homeland, specifically the shocking devastation that occurred in Flint. Moore trains his eye on corrupt and morally bankrupt Michigan governor Rick Snyder, with a vengeance, creating a movie within a movie.
Almost no one escapes Moore’s wrath, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Although Bernie Sanders does get a pass. While Snyder is vilified in (deserving) ways that even he might be unprepared for, Trump is virtually trashed beyond recognition. The clips in which Adolph Hitler is speaking with Trump’s voice, and the relentlessly terrifying parallels between what occurred in Germany and what is taking place in the United States is chill-inducing, and perhaps a bit extreme.
Clocking in at more than two hours, “Fahrenheit 11/9” is occasionally overwhelming (and at least 20 minutes too long). Nevertheless, only Moore could have crafted this kind of precise cinematic character assassination.