For many, challenging American policy is an unpatriotic act. For Michael Moore it is an exercise in freedom of speech, guaranteed by the Constitution. It seems Moore believes patriotism is rooted in action rather than principle. In the film Sicko, directed by Moore, he expresses his patriotism by attacking health care in the United States. As ironic as that may sound, a challenge to established political policy is essential to our country; just as essential as doctors, medicine, and emergency response.
The majority of the film is dedicated to anecdotal glimpses into the lives of American citizens who have been wronged by the current healthcare system. These anecdotes range from retirees and professionals, to young adults and children. Moore illustrates the current system as profit oriented and pinpoints its creation to the Nixon administration. He also compares the American policy by visiting other countries, its hospitals, and interviewing various people.
Moore is present throughout the entire film, portraying himself as an investigative reporter of sorts. As the interviewer in every meeting, he primes situations with seemingly rhetorical questions and plays into the character of “the uninformed”. His inquiries are obviously weighted towards the outcome of the film and the portrayal of the American healthcare system as a failure. His choices of case studies further champion his cause, typified by emergency response veterans from the 9-11 tragedy victimized by errant policy.
Moore’s approach to the entire issue relies on his sense of comedic relief and sarcasm. By responding to premise with sarcastically rhetorical narration, he portrays the current policy of healthcare in America as beyond controversial; he portrays it as downright ridiculous. The comedic fallacies within healthcare policies are the direct cause of tragic events documented in the film. The film does an excellent job of endearing the viewer into the personal tragedies of its subjects, without feeling contrived or biased.
Sicko is categorized as a documentary, and is intended to raise the social awareness of America’s current healthcare policy; what it achieves is the charisma of a well researched argument. The objectivity of the film seems out of balance and the presentation of facts feels incomplete at times. Though informative, the film comes off as propaganda for a specific political stance on healthcare in America. Given all the examples and testimonies of the healthcare industry failing, there was only one testimony of success and satisfaction in contrast to the entire film.
If you are interested in the current policy of healthcare and how it is affected by our government, Sicko is an interesting place to start. It will definitely raise questions about a many things; however, it may leave you without the desired answers. Though the director makes his conclusions very clear to viewers, his objectivity is generally suspect. Michael Moore deserves to be applauded for his efforts to inform the public, even though the information is rather limited.