Michael Moore’s previous attempts to show the world just how much he loves the good ol’ US of A have resulted in rather angry tirades about gun control (Bowling For Columbine) and health care (Sicko), while George W. Bush had a film all to himself with the record0breaking Fahrenheit 9/11. So when it was tantalizingly announced that Michael Moore’s next film would be entitled Where To Invade Next, it wasn’t a stretch to instantly imagine that the director would be aiming his latest vehement attack towards the military or the US’ foreign policy.
You could picture Michael Moore taking hand-written apologies to embassies and the families of victims of the US armies’ bombs, before then leading a march towards The White House or The Pentagon in an attempt to somehow right these wrongs. But, instead, in Where To Invade Next, Michael Moore is much less hostile and outraged than in his previous films, as he visits a number of different countries around Europe in an attempt to borrow different methods of dealing with social and economical problems that are currently blighting the United States of America. Rather than doing this in an aggressive manner, Moore very much plays the dumb American over in a foreign country card, repeatedly reacting in shock to how the likes of Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Germany, and Slovenia deal with their problems.
At times, you'll feel as though Where To Invade Next is overly idealistic, while you can’t help but feel that Moore and his interviewees are only showing us the benefits of Norway’s more lenient prison spells, which are built on rehabilitation rather than revenge; Germany’s constant reminder to its youth of its terrible past; and Portugal’s decision to basically legalize all drugs.
But there’s still an impassioned drive and earnestness to Michael Moore’s pursuit in Where To Invade Next that means it really resonates, and you become more and more engrossed by what you’re learning -- even if its 110-minute run time does feel particularly long, especially since the film is basically made up of vignettes and lacks the flow of his previous efforts. It also helps that in Where To Invade Next, Moore’s voice is more attentive and accepting instead of critical, as he looks to learn rather than attack in order to assist his country, which he believes is in a war with itself since anarchy, division and fear currently run amok.
But in amidst this investigation are sprouts of positivity, with the ending of Where To Invade Next especially uplifting and proving that change is indeed possible and well within our grasp, as the American dream has spread out to different countries but now needs to come back home.
Where To Invade Next is far from a perfect film. But it is up there with Michael Moore’s most important. And it will go from making US citizens dejected, to sober, but ultimately hopeful that things can, and will, change for the better.