In an otherwise insightful review of F9/11, David Edelstein comments,
This is not quite a documentary—which I define, very loosely, as a work in which the director begins by turning on the camera and allowing the reality to speak for itself, aware of its complexities, contradictions, and multitudes. You are with Moore, or you are a war criminal.
To imply that documentaries only exist when the filmmaker allows “reality to speak for itself” is an incredibly rarefied concept of a documentary, verite to the highest possible degree. I realize that I’m overreading here, but Edelstein seems to ignore that every cut, every camera movement is a meaningful act, one that will shape the reality that we see. I do think that in spite of its clear thesis (which Edelstein overstates for emphasis), Moore’s film shows some awareness of the complexities and contradictions of American life, particularly when it comes to social class, even if many of those complexities are subsumed within Moore’s larger thesis.
One of the other Big Questions about the film has been how the film will play among swing voters. An LA Times article includes interviews with several swing voters and lifelong Republicans who now claim they will not vote for Bush. A similar AJC article notes, however, that ticket sales in suburban Atlanta have been “good, but not overwhelming.” No word in the AJC article about how the suburban audience responded to the film.
Now for some non-F9/11 reading material (all via GreenCine): A Eugene Hernandez interview with Jim McKay, who recently directed the fantastic HBO film, Everyday People, and a second McKay interview by Craig Phillips. Finally, a Jennifer Ordoñez profile of Julie Delpy who stars in Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset, a follow-up to Before Sunrise, which I re-watched last night, just to give myself a break from all of the documentary films I’ve been watching lately.