out of Five
Running time: 94
With a wide-ranging array of interviewees and an amusingly Moore-like approach to its subject, Manufacturing Dissent is an enjoyable documentary, whether you're pro-Moore, anti-Moore or indifferent.
What's it all about?
With an opening sequence that cheekily contrasts the bombing of Baghdad with Michael Moore winning the Best Documentary Oscar for Bowling For Columbine four days later, Canadian reporter Debbie Melnyk's enjoyable documentary takes a Moore-like look at Michael Moore's films and methods while pursuing him round the country in an attempt to get an interview.
The film traces Moore's life and career, paying particular attention to his home town of Flint, Michigan, the subject of his first film, Roger & Me. It also unearths a wide variety of interviewees and examines some of Moore's most famously faked scenes, such as the open a bank account and get a free gun sequence from Bowling For Columbine.
To be fair, this isn't exactly a hatchet job, as Melnyk and co-director Rick Caine take great pains to give Moore's achievements equal coverage, not least of which is the fact that the success of his films has lead directly to the rising demand for documentaries that make films such as this possible in the first place.
Melnyk's seemingly inexhaustible list of interviewees includes loyal friends, admirers and colleagues, alongside people who feel cheated, used or even just bemused by his occasional fact-bending or working methods.
Fortunately, Melnyk herself is a likeable presence, so this never feels like sour grapes. Her occasional meetings with Moore (usually at book signings or press conferences, where Moore repeatedly tells her that he just loves Canadians but he's too busy to talk) are a definite highlight and recall Moore's attempts to collar General Motors head honcho Roger Smith in Roger & Me.
Manufacturing Dissent: Uncovering Michael Moore is an enjoyable documentary that presents a balanced view of Moore and his methods and allows you to draw your own conclusions. Worth seeing.
Manufacturing Dissent: Uncovering Michael Moore (15)