Review: Bowling for Columbine

This is defiantly one of the hardest movie reviews I have ever had to write. Is it hard because I really wanted to enjoy this movie and I found myself disappointed? No. Hard because I really didn’t want to see it and found myself uplifted in spirit? Wrong, again. This review is hard to write because Bowling for Columbine is such a masterpiece of a documentary, so hard hitting, so very true that words cannot describe just how good it is. This documentary should be viewed by all, it should be a prerequisite in junior high, high school, and college classrooms. Every student, adult, and every American should see this documentary because it really puts things into perspective on just what kind of culture we have going in this country and of the countless people interviewed by Michael Moore over the course of two hours, ever single one had a different reason on why we choose to shoot each other with guns.

Bowling for Columbine, written, produced, and directed by Michael Moore is about as blatant to the gun problem in America as you can get. The movie begins with Michael Moore strolling into a bank and asking for the account that “gives you the free gun.” You read that right. There are banks around the country that have nearly 500 firearms locked in their vault and give you a free gun with the opening of a checking account. In fact, these banks are licenses gun sellers and can run your background check on the premises. What all of this means is you can walk into a bank, open an account, get a background check, and walk out with a gun 60 minutes later.

The movie never lets you go for the 120 minute run time. You are grabbed by Moore’s ease of obtaining a gun in the beginning and are haunted by the ending conversation with Charlton Heston who walks out on the interview when questioned if he would like to apologize to the parents of a six year old school shooting victim. As an added plus you get to see just what kind of a dick Dick Clark actually is. Celebrities need a big reality check.

As the name states, Bowling for Columbine devotes an ample amount of time talking about the mass-murder shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. One of my favorite quotes from the movie comes from Moore when talking to South Park creator Matt Stone. He states that Stone and South Park co-creator Trey Parker turned their hatred “…instead of carnage, into a cartoon.” Again, as the name of the movie implies, the two murderers from Columbine reportedly bowled two games before heading off to school and killing a dozen of their classmates and one teacher. The most chilling part of the movie involves a four-way section of the screen equally divided among four different security camera tapes inside Columbine on the day of the shooting. Moore in no way glorifies the actions of the two teenagers but shows the audience what it must have been like to be inside of that school on April 20, 1999. The tapes themselves aren’t the chilling part, the 911 phone call in the background of a scared teacher under a desk in the library sends shivers down your spine.

Moore could be called anti-gun by his statements throughout the film, but he clearly recognizes the other side of the argument by analyzing just why people need guns in America. Let it be known that people in Canada don’t even lock their doors, and this is best seen when Moore travels through an up-scale Canadian neighborhood and simply walks up to doors and opens them, no knocking, no way in telling the home’s inhabitants that he is coming, he just opens the door. Why is this though? Mainly because, as Moore explains, is the American news media has a majority of the populations scared, scared of what ever is out there, so scared that they feel they need a gun to protect themselves and when demand is high, supply is equally as high and then the gun falls into the wrong hands.

There are so many things that stand out about this movie that it is impossible to name just a single part that really is the best, it is a movie that needs to be seen and enjoyed to fully understand where I am coming from. Interviews with Marilyn Manson and Charlton Heston really provide insight into what these people are actually thinking in an unadulterated, un-planned interview. Both sides of the issue are fully examined by the “gun-nuts” arguments usually shoot themselves in the foot on how ludicrous they are and amazingly stupid they look on film. Notable parts include Moore taking two kids shot at Columbine to K-Mart Headquarters and showing them what the bullets they sold did to these kids (one is paralyzed for life). This single act, and media attention caused K-Mart to discontinue selling handgun ammunition in it’s stores.

Bowling for Columbine is an amazing documentary (or film as you can use either term). Parts will have you at the edge of your seat in horror, other times you are laughing at the arguments by certain “experts” and why they keep loaded guns all around the house. Powerful, informative, and as unbiased as you can be, Bowling for Columbine is one of the best films I have ever seen in my life.

Written by Erich Becker
Thirty-something with a love of everything we cover here, and a few things we don't. Erich has run Entertainmentopia since the site's inception in 1999, countless redesigns, a few crashes, and a lot of media later, here you have it!