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Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
Short plot summary

This movie presents a compelling argument that America has a serious problem with their gun culture: 11,500 deaths a year.

The title uses the irony that the two assassins at the Columbine High School shoot-out went bowling (a credited sports class) on the morning of their killing spree, but nobody blamed that.

Michael Moore criticizes various bodies, such as K-Mart for selling cheap ammo (used in the Columbine shootings) and Charlton Heston who is trapped bunny-rabbit-caught-in-the-headlights style at the end of the piece, as head of the National Rifle Association.

What our panel of critics thought
"I felt really sorry for Charlton Heston at the end."

"A deservingly Oscar winning performance, although it presents few answers, just questions."

"I can't help but think K-Mart got one up on Michael Moore here. Agreeing to ban ammo sales after the Columbine kids petitioned them at their HQ, it makes you wonder if they would have done this had Michael Moore not been filming a documentary. Someone in a corporate office somewhere has just written a new chapter in customer relations me thinks."

Please tell me the ending

There are three main strands, two of which get tied-up at the end.

1) Two 'We've got K-Mart ammo still in us' victims of the Columbine shooting, petition K Mart's head office. K Mart eventually agree to stop selling ammo and handguns in 90 days.

2) Charlton Heston, as president of the NRA, is criticised for speaking at a public engagement shortly after the Columbine shootings. Moore tricks his way in to see Heston saying he is a member of the NRA. Heston is then trapped with awkward questions until he eventually walks off.

3) Dick Clark is criticised for running a food chain and allegedly not paying his staff enough. We are told a tragic tale: A boy finds a gun at his Uncle's, he takes the gun to school and shoots dead a 6 year old girl in class. (The reason the boy was with his Uncle was that he and his mother had to move from their own home as she allegedly didn't earn enough at Clark's job to pay the rent.) The mother had gone to work before the boy got up and didn't see him taking the gun...

Other comments

Superb, fantastic, do not miss this documentary.

Michael Moore is utterly consummate as the wry hand holder through this contentious subject. If we ever made a documentary on the subject we would dream of it being half as good as this one.

Date of Review

June 23, 2003

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