Michael Moore’s new film takes aim at President Trump and establishment Democrats alike, but it only succeeds when the director turns the camera on his hometown.
As with every other example of this tactic, Fahrenheit 11/9’s election flashback is designed as a gut punch for the audience, a concentrated version of the intense stress and mania of TV news, injected right into the eyes. It only exists so that Moore, that rumpled avatar of Bush-era left-wing activism, can ask the big dramatic question—“How the fuck did we get here?”—over footage of Trump’s face being projected onto the Empire State Building. But Fahrenheit 11/9 is not a film with a big overarching answer to that question, or some major thesis about where the country might be headed. It’s a disjointed, occasionally powerful, often grating grab bag of recent political events, a mess that’s forgivable only because it does reflect the messy state of the world.