Where to Invade Next review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
In a full-fledged feature where Michael Moore is the judge, jury and executioner – there’s no room for questioning his research methods or final conclusions of the subject thereof. In that regard, Where to Invade Next is poignant, albeit watered-down representation of everything the average American knows that is true, but is too busy with life to accept it as such.
Michael Moore’s work is often criticized for being overly one-sided, lacking facts and serious, in-depth research and portraying complex subject matters such as geopolitics, international relations and state policies in a cartoonish matter. This is true most of the time, since Moore’s wit often lies underneath the whole satiric approach and people tend to disregard his features as mere time-wasters in a world full of real problems.
In Where to Invade Next, Michael Moore tries to compare different state systems as opposed to the American one, and indeed that is what he does. He takes his filming crew to Germany, Iceland, Tunisia, Slovenia, France, Finland and Portugal, not necessarily in that order, and conducts interviews with workers, government spokespersons and the ordinary European Joe: what Moore hears in return is astonishing for him.
But, not as astonishing and ground-breaking as he makes it ought to be: sure, workers in Italy get maternity leaves, more days of paid vacations and even paid honeymoons against their American counterparts. Turning to the CEO, and the controversial director gets a rather obvious statement: the happier the workers are – the more productive they become. Has Moore uncovered a deeply-rooted conspiracy, or the Emperor has no clothes?
Then Moore proceeds to “plant” his American flag, both figuratively and literally, to every country he visits with his crew. In France, we are ‘misguided’ by the director and think that he is taking us to a five-star restaurant, when instead, much to our bewilderment – he crashes a school cafeteria which serves five-course edibles and is generally a nice place for one to dine in.
Furthermore, Where to Invade Next “invades” Finland as we learn the education system there doesn’t pile up children with homework, but leaves them to their own merits without usurping their free time. Finland is also not a fan of private schools, and instead focuses to better the education on its national level.
Apparently, Finland was torn between its education policies, but decided to bring rigid reforms and transform the learning system into what’s now known the No.1 education system in the world.
Moore’s mannerisms are fun to watch for limited amounts of time. After that, his shtick becomes weary and repetitive, and viewers cannot help but roll their eyes in disdain.
Love him or hate him – Moore’s certainly here to stay in the long run.