Every documentary we have seen thus far has essentially been the story of the subject challenging something. In The Cove it was dolphin slaughter; Gas Hole, the oil industry; The Human Experience, perceptions of our fellow humans. Bowling for Columbine is no different, with Michael Moore taking on what feels like the entirety of conservative America at times. Unfortunately, Moore seems not only to have bitten off more than he can chew, but ineffectually gnawing on it like a cranky schnauzer.
More than anything, Moore just comes off as bitter and immature. It’s very clear that he has an agenda, and he has no problem showing it. And, this does not necessarily have to be a bad thing, so long as the presentation and subject matter is handled with a feeling of maturity and respect.
Moore abandons all of that if favor of cheap gimmicks, jabs at interview subjects added when they are not around to defend themselves, and an overall attempt to vilify conservative culture in general. It is a recurring theme in his work for him to chase down those he wants to interview, shove a microphone in his/her face, and then act like a hurt, innocent victim when he is ignored.
All of Moore’s antics radically undercut his message, making me actually feel a tad ashamed when I agreed with any of his stances. Overall, what good ideas that the documentary does present are buried under the sheer breadth of what Moore tries to fight, and the petty behavior on screen. This should really only be watched to get a feel for how not to approach a documentary.