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Friday, 22 November, 2002, 09:24 GMT
Bowling for Columbine: Your views
Survivors of the Columbine massacre
Moore's inquiry starts with the Columbine massacre
Controversial satirist Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine has already won numerous festival awards, including a special jury prize at Cannes.

The documentary looks at America's relationship with guns against the backdrop of the Columbine High School massacre.

"Despite its flaws, Bowling for Columbine is 2002's must-see film," wrote BBC News Online's Matthew Slater.

But what do you think?

This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

Have your say

I thought his documentary was provocative and insightful. I left the theatre thinking about all of the issues he raised during the film, of which there were many. At times, he went a little bit too far I believe, trying to join welfare issues directly with the death of a young girl at the hands of a young boy in Michigan. But overall, it was an amazing piece. While I left depressed about the state of our nation, I am content that these issues are being raised in the public eye. Bowling for Columbine is the talk of the town. Maybe something will come of it, maybe nothing will. But at least we're thinking.
Mo, USA

It is very impressive. U.S. shows again and again its arrogance in wanting the gun law unchanged, even though their kids are being killed left and right, their belief in their "right" is overwhelmingly ignorant.
Suzana, Canada

THE most amazing film - I did not think it would work on the big screen but it was so watchable. It is extremely well made, hilariously funny, intelligent, perceptive and never lets you down. It feels easy early on in this film to reduce this film to an anti-gun propaganda but it is so much more, it tunnels deep down into the American psyche and finds the real problem. A problem we face here in the UK.

You will never want to live in this warped America, instead you will be booking a flight to its pratically utopian neighbour Canada...go see this film and you 'll see what I mean. I promise you will not be disappointed.
Ann, England

Sure I laughed at so many comical scenes in Bowling, they are too many to outline here. It is difficult to sit through the documentary without shouting and screaming out loud at the insanity of such things as banks that are also gun dealers. The three minute animation History of the United States of America is priceless and describes the culture of illogical fear that grips that country forcing all of us dangerously close to yet another war.

This movie reduced me to tears and made me more than ever thankful that my grandparents, who also landed at Ellis Island, continued north to Canada. Moore's epic work should be shown in every school in the USA. In fact my friend wrote to George & Laura (Bush) suggesting this and has yet to have a reply.
Linda WS, Canada

I saw Michael Moore in person at last week's screening at Leicester Square. When asked about his motivation for the film he replied that he wanted to inform other countries, especially the UK, not to follow the the US's self centred society. The film is, without doubt, the BEST insight you can get into US gun culture, however the remaining impression you are left with is that society in the US is very sick indeed. It's not all doom - it's incredibly funny to watch. Moore is a genius!
Gareth Jones, UK

As well as being a comical genius Michael Moore is a brilliant director to boot. this film is successful in making me laugh, cry and be shocked at American gun culture. it touches on serious issues but with added humour. Despite what many have said about this film being "too insensitive" I think deep down it does deal with serious issues and help us understand more about how dangerous guns are.
Hannah Anderson, United Kingdom

One of the best documentaries in the whole history of cinema that will ask you to see the subject of violence both by your heart and brain.
Sina, Iran

True, Bowling for Columbine is not perfect, the narrative wanders occasionally and it's just slightly overlong. But that is a small flaw in what is an incredibly funny yet poignant study of American gun culture. Moore's main question: "Why when Canada has as many guns per person don't they kill each other like Americans do?", is a fascinating one. And one that Moore goes some way to answering by pointing out that while murder in America has gone down by 20% in recent years, reporting of murder in the media has gone up by 600%.

As the surprisingly thoughtful and eloquent Marilyn Manson says in the film żAmerica is being taught only fear and consumptionż. A remarkable piece of work Iżd strongly recommend anyone and everyone to go and see.
Andy Icke, UK

I found this film to be an hilarious satire, that at its heart was seething with rage over a country apprently fuelled by guns and anger. But this film loses its way badly in the middle part and the interview with a clearly mentally unwell Charlton Heston only underscores the weakness of the overall narrative of this film. But a shocking and haunting film in places.
Michael O'Neill, UK

You have to see this. In fact, you have a duty to tell everybody you know to go and see this film. In fact, take out a loan and PAY for everybody you've ever met to go and see this film. You will leave the cinema a changed person. So will they.
Tom Bola, U.S.A

In the beginning of the movie I thought they were actors. The American gun culture is just something else. It is great the Michael Moore makes this kind of controversial stuff.
Chris Wheatley, Canada

Brilliant and all to accurate on the silly Gun Laws America has!
James, UK

Yes, it's liberal agitprop - but Moore also succeeded in pointing out the utter hypocrisy of the Gun Lobby and its unwarranted influence with America's lawmakers. A bullseye - if you'll pardon the expression.
Robert del Valle, USA

Michael Moore is always as insightful as he is shocking. Sometimes it takes offending people for them to realise what is going on. America's obsession with the gun is both unhealthy and unprecedented anywhere else in the world. Yet Americans seem to be the only people unable to make that short intuitive leap between high gun ownership and high death rates. Ironically, the "historical/cultural" justification about American values didn't even exist before Samuel Colt's eminently successful marketing campaign of the 1850s. Worse, the Constitution doesn't give people the right to own guns, it gives them the right to be part of a militia, that owns guns, to defend the nation.
Damian Leach, UK

I'm torn. Either this is lax journalism that is too busy taking cheap shots to find any real solutions, or it is thought-provoking work that refuses to offer easy answers.

Similarly, the climactic confrontation with Charlton Heston is either an electrifying expose of the attitutes behind America's National Rifle Association, or it is simply Michael Moore badgering a sick old man.
Stu West, Scotland

Michael Moore often offers a good honest incite to many topics and this can be seen as something we can observe and then learn from, in any country.
James, UK

Michael Moore is, as ususal, frighteningly insightful. Although the film indeed poses more questions than it answers, I am grateful to Moore for having the courage to expose the National Rifle Association and attempt to make them publicly accountable for their inappropriate and aggressive campagining for "civil liberties" which result in horrific tragedies every day in the US.

This film shows the extent to which Americans are gripped by fear and suspicion, thus being ultimately under the control of a national administration just salivating to press THAT magic war button. Although he idealises Canada's pacifist nature far too much, BFC is riveting, smartly humourous and not to be missed.
Jason Winkler, Canada

I believe that Mr. Moore has done a marvellous job in this movie. I hope this fabulous movie will be the beginning to putting an end to gun violence in US.
John, USA

I found myself wanting to stand up and shout "hooray" at the screen. Moore does not say the Second Amendment should be abolished; he simply questions why we, as Americans, automatically resort to violence as our first option to sorting out problems. Why do Canadians who possess about 7 million handguns have approx 100 shooting deaths a year whereas we have over 11,000? He makes some VERY interesting points about fear in American society and gets your mind racing. It is uncomfortable at times. The scene that made one of the biggest impacts on me was his interview with Marilyn Manson, who, when asked what he would say to the young people of Columbine High School in Colorado (shooting spree in 1999), replied that he would not say a word - he would listen to what they had to say to him. It still gives me chills just thinking about it. Thank you!
Merri Fefles, USA

Since seeing the film I have heard that the statistics, particularly the number of gun murders in Canada, may be incorrect (Canada having a lower number of handgun shootings but comparable long gun shootings). Although this dents my confidence in some of what Michael Moore puts over I still think it a very worth while film which doesn't give you a 'this is why it happened' answer, it just tries to put gun shootings in the context of American culture. Occasionally heartbreaking and occassionally laugh out loud (in an embarassed way) funny I would urge people to see it.
Amy, UK

If Michael Moore fails to offer any answers to the problems of US gun culture, perhaps it's because there are no easy answers.

Maybe if enough people watch Bowling for Columbine attitudes will begin to shift.
Guy Chapman, UK

A fantastic, yet horrifying film. It serves as a stark warning to elements of British culture which blindly follow where the US leads. Michael Moore clearly demonstrates how a culture of fear leads to a culture of violence. Those involved in the media in this country should be forced to watch this film to see just where the increasingly popular style of paranoia-fuelling journalism can lead...
Kirsty, UK


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15 Nov 02 | Reviews
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