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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Press reviews: Fahrenheit 9/11
A scene from Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 has been largely well received by critics
Michael Moore's controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, which has received its world premiere at Cannes, has met with a mixed response from UK and US critics:

What's remarkable here isn't Moore's political animosity or ticklish wit. It's the well-argued, heartfelt power of his persuasion. Even though there are many things here that we have already learned, Moore puts it all together. It's a look back that feels like a new gaze forward.

Washington Post

This is an angry film about greed, the abuse of power, the betrayal of the people by their leaders. Moore says he hopes to keep it up to date between now and a pre-election US release in July - assuming Miramax find a distributor to their liking. Republicans will be infuriated by the film's simple emotional message. The rest of us will hope it reaches as wide a congregation as The Passion Of The Christ.

The Independent

Moore's big omission is Tony Blair and the UK. He has a clever pastiche of the opening title-sequence of the old TV western Bonanza, with Bush and Blair mocked up to look like cowboys. But in a section about the ramshackle "coalition of the willing" which was supposed to lend international legitimacy to the invasion, there is no mention of the part played by this country. This can only be because of Moore's insistence on America's international isolation and arrogance. It's a strange, skewed perspective.

The Guardian

Fahrenheit 9/11 may be seen as another example of the liberal media preaching to its own choir. But Moore is such a clever assembler of huge accusations and minor peccadilloes that the film should engage audiences of all political persuasions.

Time Magazine

It's a storming work of tempered polemic, gripping from start to last, that uses the war in Iraq as a starting point for offering a largely convincing class-based analysis of contemporary America. Small wonder that few US distributors want to touch it.

Daily Telegraph

There are still some classic Moore moments here, notably when squirming US congressmen are invited to sign up their own children to fight in Iraq. The director has always been strongest on the cusp between anger and humour, but there are simply too few such inspired episodes here. Fahrenheit 9/11 hits enough of its targets to qualify as an important and timely film. But it should have been a smart bomb, and it feels more like a blunt instrument.

The Times

Told with passion and cutting sarcasm, the film has a good deal of the Moore trademarks, from a deft use of various television and pop culture clips to embarrassing encounters with the great and the good. Moore is mischievous as ever - at one point he tries to convince members of the Congress to encourage their children to enlist and fight in the war. The irony and childish iconoclasm are still there but this is a film in which an adult sense of anger and frustration also dominate.


Its title notwithstanding, Michael Moore has delivered a film rather less incendiary than might have been expected - or wished for by his fans - in Fahrenheit 9/11. The sporadically effective documentary trades far more in emotional appeals than in systematically building an evidence-filled case against the president and his circle.


What Moore seems to be pioneering here is a reality film as an election-year device. The facts and arguments are no different than those one can glean from political commentary or recently published books on these subjects. Only the impact of film may prove greater than the printed word. So the real question is not how good a film is Fahrenheit 9/11 - it is undoubtedly Moore's weakest - but will a film help to get a president fired?

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