Persuasive Article – Bowling for Columbine – Michael Moore

9 September 2016

By Emily Wanklyn Film maker, author and political activist, Michael Moore, created controversy in 2002 with his American documentary “Bowling for Columbine”. The documentary explores the Columbine school shooting, gun laws, and why Americans are so obsessed with violence and fear. Moore cleverly uses a variety of cinematic techniques to manipulate his audience. For instance, editing, music & sound, use of archival footage, and political agenda/bias. One of the cinematic techniques that Moore uses that is most affective in his documentary is editing. For example; Charlton Heston’s speech.

Charlton Heston, being the president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), was an easy target to blame for America’s astronomical amount of people that are killed by firearms. Moore uses two of Charlton’s speeches by strategically cutting bits and pieces from each to create a speech that was never even spoken. “I have only five words for you: ‘from my cold dead hands’ ” -Charlton Heston ‘Cold dead hands’ was nowhere in the speech and was actually given a year later in Charlotte, N. C. In doing this, Moore tactically put this footage in after showing the weeping children outside Columbine school.

This made it seem that Charlton Heston and his team rushed to Littleton to hold gun rallies and demonstrations directly after the tragedy, portraying to the audience that Heston and the NRA are arrogant, insensitive and selfish. In the beginning of the film Michael Moore goes to a bank in the USA, and opens an account to receive a gun. However, through the use of editing this is not the case. In Michael Wilson’s film, ‘Michael Moore hates America’ , Wilson interviews the woman working at the bank and she corrects the situation in saying that in fact it took Michael Moore over 30 days to receive the gun.

Moore left out the important factors of the process and made it out that it took only one day. In his efforts, Moore did this to create an idea in the audiences judgements that the gun laws in the USA are not strict and that owning a gun requires no attention. Music and sound was another manipulated technique that Moore used to persuade the audience. During the film Moore included his dry sense of humour and played the song ‘what a wonderful world’ (By Louis Armstrong) when it cut to the montage of violent war scenes and American foreign policy decisions throughout the 20th and 21st century.

This perceives the US government as being at fault for the increase of violence in young adolescents. Punk rock music, Marilyn Manson, violent video games and action movies were also put to blame in the documentary. As well as blaming the government, this music and scene choice is clearly a mockery of the government. Archival footage was used to strongly persuade the audience as the use of it between the scenes which are inconsistent, makes the audience think that those inconsistencies are true. strongly persuaded the audience In doing so, this positions the audience to feel distressed, sympathetic, scared and alarmed.

Near the halfway point of the film, a series of clips depicting “alarming” advice and information from the media is put together. In the background, a heart can be heard beating. As the clips continue, the heart  beat increases. This further enhances the actual anxiety the viewer experiences while watching these clips. influence -Misleads you – Master of illusion Body Paragraphs: * Editing * What does the editing in that part do to the audience? * Getting the bank to give him a gun straight away, not true- took him a few days *

Use of archival footage * Play sirens and distressed 911 callers * Actual phone call playacks that happened during the 911 attack and school shooting * Footage of people running and screaming,yelling, crying, freaking out * * Making the audience to feel distressed, scared, sympathetic, alarmed, Manipulated of cinematic techniques Guns don’t kill crowds of innocent people; maniacs with easy access to military-grade weapons do “Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I wish mental health care was as easy to get as, say, a gun. ” -Andy Borowitz

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