Bowling for Columbine
Bowling for Columbine - A Film Analysis
The documentary “Bowling for Columbine” by Michael Moore follows a synthetic format combining archived compilation along with interviews to present itself factually trustworthy. It definitely uses rhetorical form as Moore’s goal is to persuade the audience to adopt an opinion to the subject matter – his theory that Americans are trigger-happy, fear laced people who rely on violence to solve problems. He asks the question- why does America have so many guns and so much gun violence?
The film can be defined by the four basic attributes associated with rhetorical form- it addresses the viewer openly, the subject is not an issue of scientific truth but rather tries to move the viewer to a new conviction, definitely uses emotional appeal over facts, and finally the film attempts to persuade the viewer to make choices that will have an effect on their everyday life.
From the opening scenes when he gets a free gun by opening a new bank account - Moore uses archived clips, mixed with interviews of people associated with the Oklahoma City bombings; the Michigan Militia, NRA’s then president Charlton Heston, relatives and acquaintances of the Columbine tragedy to persuade us to accept his arguments. Various clips are introduced throughout the film depicting violence in the United States and the fear that citizens live with in this society. There is implication that fear is hyped by the media and controlled by the government to keep the level of fear amongst the populace. He implies that there is a conspiracy to create fear against black people through media and other forms. With edits and cuts from multiple sources he skillfully backs up his theory. He also includes a segment comparing the contrast of violence between the U.S. and Canada which has a fairly high percentage of private gun ownership, but very low gun violence. Why is this? The answer that Moore leads us to is that the reason the United States has so many violent deaths due to guns is not the AMOUNT of guns but due to the exploitation of violence through the media and the governments position to keep Americans on the edge of fear.
The approach Moore uses creates curiosity and suspense, on which the viewer can reflect. From the film’s beginning showing the ease of obtaining guns in America through the philosophy that guns are needed for protection, he uses a good mixture of interviews, archived clips, enthymemes and dialogue that support the subject.
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