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Media assessment documentary

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Introduction

Guns don't kill people---PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE! How many young people today sit down in front of the television and decide to watch a documentary? Not many. Perhaps because documentaries are "educational" and a "good use of your time"- but what's so bad about this? IT SOUNDS TOO MUCH LIKE SCHOOL! Even when young people think about documentaries, visions of travelling round the world with Michael Palin (well past his Monty Python years) commenting a bit too enthusiastically about what a local had for breakfast, or old David Attenborough talking dubiously about where Seals go to Spawn, or an in-depth historical re-cap of how Hitler came to rule Germany with authentic (fake) sepia film of a Hitler look-a-like re-enacting the drama presented by "know-ones-ever-heard-of", automatically spring to mind. What teenager, who after having six hours of imperative information being shoved down their throat, would want to come home, sit back, unwind, and watch something that again tries to shovel more information into them? This was basically my view until I watched "Bowling for Columbine" by Michael Moore. Don't be fooled, as I was, that this was going to be another David Attenborough want-to-be raving on about sea life, as it is the complete opposite. This was about something interesting, something that I could relate to, and something I could get passionate about! This documentary was about guns in America; how are people are killed by gun crime? ...read more.

Middle

However, the representative gave in only after Moore and the two boys were dismissed from the headquarters and bought the entire contents of all ammuntition in the nearest K-mart store and returned with the media the next day. After the representative gives them what they wanted, Moore says in disbelief "We've won. That was more than we'd asked for.". This just shows that if you feel enough passion for a subject, and you stick it out for long enough, you will eventually get what you wanted. A very sad moment in the film is when Moore starts talking about how a little boy got hold of a gun and shot another little girl in a primary school in Flint, Michigan- Michael Moores childhood home town. Then, on a black screen we heard the emergency phone call to 911, with subtitles to make sense of the panicked voice we heard, speaking shakily about the little girl lying in the classroom, dying. This was particularly effective as there were no pictures on the screen to distract us, so all of our attention was on the horrific phonecall and the equally horrific description of how the little girl came to be and what was happening at that moment. Then, Moore started telling us about an event that shocked everyone watching. The NRA (national rifle accossiation) came to Flint, to have a gun rally and to basically celebrate the fact Americans have guns. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many times throughout I laughed outloud at the obvious sarcasm Moore was radiating, and that the Americans he was speaking to had no idea he was being sarcastic! But also many times in the documentary I felt like I might cry, as many parts (especially when a parent of a deceased Columbine Massacre victim did a anti-gun speech) were very emotional and touching. But perhaps it's not only the content that makes "bowling for Columbine" such an effective film, it could be the different types of documentary style used in it. As Moore clevery switches from a reflexive/interactive documentary mode (when the camera crew are fully acknowledged- e.g the bank scene), to footage with voiceovers, to interviews. This makes the film even more interesting to watch, as it's varied and not all the same format. To conclude, "bowling for Columbine" is definately the best documentary I've ever watched, and my Dad's a fan of David Attenborough...so I've had my fair share of nature documentaries, but I haven't seen a documentary like this, about human nature. The film is for anyone, as it has everything in it! Humour, drama, tragedy and, of course, knowledge. Moore cleverly weaves each issue into context, changing fluidly from each point to another, but between the serious aspects of the film, sparkles with humour and sarcasm. You're seriously missing out if you don't watch this film. ...read more.

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