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London Film Festival: Michael Moore’s Sicko is a must-see

October 27, 2007

If I do say so myself.

Sicko was shown at the London Film Festival last week. It is Michael Moore‘s latest effort, looking at the mess that is America’s privatised healthcare system, relying as it does upon insurance claims to pay medical bills.

As Moore’s average, middle-class, insured subjects show us, though, having the insurance may still not be enough. The industry does all it can to avoid payouts, denying the needy of healthcare.

Netribution’s London correspondent Suchandrika Chakrabarti provides an extensive, absorbing review of the latest film from the documentary world’s most popular (creatively) and challenged (critically) director.


See the trailer here:

Moore’s case studies give us horror stories; of retired couples having to sell homes, an 18-month-old girl dying because her she was in a hospital not covered by her mother’s insurance, and the 9/11 workers who are all but ignored by government health initiatives.

Moore was unable to fulfil his wish to present his documentary on the American health insurance system to the London Film Festival.

However, he managed to send a letter to the organisers, exhorting the audience to “NOT to go down the American road of privitization and profit when it comes to health care.”

The letter also makes other good points about the creeping privatisation of our dear old NHS – as many have accused Moore of seeing the institution in far too rosy a light in the film.

It’s worth going over to the LFF site and taking a look at his words before reading this review, as, unlike the film, the letter is aimed at a British audience. Sicko, on the other hand, is aimed squarely at Moore’s fellow countrymen (with him using “we” throughout the voiceovers), implicating all of his US viewers in the healthcare mess he investigates.

As for the film itself: Sicko is gripping, moving and thoroughly convincing. It is also funny, with Moore at first showing us the absurdities of the American system through the case of Rick, a woodworker who sliced off the tips of his ring and middle fingers.

The ring finger is much cheaper to repair – a bargain $12 000; the middle is that much more expensive at $60 000. The uninsured Rick can’t afford both, so he goes for the ring finger. We are told that his remaining fingertip ended up in a landfill site. This seemingly medieval tale is told mostly straight – we’re already squirming in our seats. It isn’t a great leap from Rick’s case to the 18 000 Americans who die each year due to lack of insurance.

For the rest, please see Netribution

Want an opposing view? Look over here

Click here to see what some NHS staff thought of it

For more information, please see Michael Moore’s site, or the LFF site.

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4 Comments leave one →
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    Like

  2. November 1, 2007 5:45 am

    Cool beans for the netribution thing (i like that name!) — will go back.

    Like

  3. October 30, 2007 11:40 am

    Tony Blair is likeable as a speaker and he seems rather sweet… but the charm has worn off after 10 years! The Moore-meister’s kind of got a point with the “drunk driver” thing, I reckon.

    Yeah Sicko was good, definitely recommended. I see what you meant about the link, and I’ve now updated it so you can just click through without joining Netribution. Yay the internets!

    Like

  4. October 30, 2007 3:17 am

    Did he really just say that stuff to Tony Blair? Ha! Am I wrong to like Tony Blair? He seems like a good guy who just unfortunately believed the hysteria Bush created… maybe he should have known better…

    I like Michael Moore and I’m going to watch this when it hits DVD.

    Great article by the way. I guess I can read the rest if I have a netribution account?

    : )

    Like

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