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Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 204 Ratings

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  • Summary: Famed documentarian Michael Moore returns with his first feature film in five years, as he tackles the issue of America's unique obsession with firearms.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Moore's best movie, and one of the most blisteringly effective polemics and documentaries ever.
  2. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    90
    The sparks fly thanks to Moore's patented blend of curveball research, expedient juxtaposition, genuine satire and bottomless chutzpah.
  3. 88
    Imperfect as it may be, Bowling for Columbine is riveting stuff.
  4. At its best, the movie powerfully indicts our violent history. A montage of bloody U.S. interventions in foreign affairs over the last half-century, most overthrowing elected governments we didn't like, left me shaken.
  5. Moore's concern about issues is genuine, and his showboating technique is often entertaining. But he is not the most organized person in the world, and there is a scattershot randomness about this film that is both its essence and a source of frustration.
  6. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    60
    Something appalling about the way he turns to the camera with a look of sorrow: Michael Moore as a suffering Christ. It's an insult to his own movie, which at its considerable best transcends his thuggish personality.
  7. Where Bowling for Columbine is at its most valuable is in its examination of America's culture of fear as a root cause of gun violence.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 130
  2. Negative: 35 out of 130
  1. Apr 21, 2014
    10
    As relevant today as it was 12 years ago, Bowling For Columbine features Michael Moore addressing the subjects of firearms, race, fear and prejudice in a totally engaging documentary that never falls short and continues to surprise and educate even up to its bittersweet end. Participatory documentary at its finest. Expand
  2. Sep 8, 2013
    9
    The dark and comic tone of "Bowling for Columbine" attempts to outline the seriousness of its content, through its condescending questions to various citizens and first hand look at some unimaginable situations, the film is a look at the simplicity of picking up a firearm in America, writer, investigator, director and the sarcastic Michael Moore narrates various facts about the National Rifle Association, the pro-gun movement, he interviews some of the most colourful individuals on screen, including a young man who sleeps with a gun under his pillow and a young man who makes his own bombs, including homemade napalm.
    The title refers to the tragic actions of two gun-wielding and bomb-making students who massacred students and teachers in Columbine High School, after a carefully orchestrated attack, an event that made people question gun control in the United States. We then see a video collage with words to various deals and decisions that the American government has made over the years, giving weapons to a country they later invade, removing democratically elected presidents and replacing them with dictators, which ironically has Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" playing over it, a startling reminder of what those in power of capable of. We then see video footage of the Columbine tragedy, as a teacher makes a frantic call to the emergency services as the gunmen turned to face the room the caller was in. What happened after was equally as disturbing, the blames, security measures and segregation of children was quite unbelievable.
    The film explores this blame and questions just what makes the Free World different from every other country, we share the same entertainment and pop culture variance, things which are blamed for these mass shootings, why does the rest of the world not have such a startling firearm death statistic as the USA. Moore has created a satirical view of serious issues that need addressed, he questions why larger issues are clouded by more menial ones, he also combines this with a perfect soundtrack, one which reflects the material on show, his interactions with a wide variety of people, from rural to urban areas of the States and even up to Canada, trying figure out the source if these problems, he puts the real problems right in "important" people faces and it's unfortunate to see such a cold reaction.
    This is touching, disturbing and influential documentary that hits the problems where they hurt, but accepts the fact that it can't do enough to change a nation, little instances happen, but they are blips on a massive scale that barely matter.
    Expand
  3. BKM
    Dec 25, 2012
    8
    Is it unbiased, fair and logical? Absolutely not. But that's not what Moore is aiming for (no pun intended). Bowling for Columbine is an unapologetic pro-gun control polemic infused with scathing humor and pointed attacks on everyone from the national media to corporate America. The film doesn't come close to providing any real answers to the problem of gun violence, but it does strike a chord when it turns its attention to the culture of fear that is ingrained in our collective psyche. Just don't take it as gospel. Expand
  4. Nov 2, 2010
    7
    This is probably the best documentary Michael Moore ever did and the reasons are easy to understand. This was a very well written and it shows that he invested a lot of sentiment and time in this. It's great and even if you don't agree with his politics you should still be able to admire this great piece of work. Expand

See all 130 User Reviews