|ROGER & ME (director/writer: Michael Moore; cinematographers: Chris Beaver, John Prusak, Kevin Rafferty, Bruce Schermer; editors: Wendey Stanzler, Jennifer Berman; cast: Roger Smith, Michael Moore; Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Michael Moore; Warner Home Video; 1989)|
against corporate greed and asks what happened
to the American Dream and
its promise of middle-class prosperity."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker Michael Moore ("Sicko"/"Bowling for
Columbine") returns to his
hometown of Flint, Michigan, from an investigative
journalist job in San Francisco in response to
Roger Smith, chairman of GM, closing down 11 plants in
Flint and firing 30,000 workers, in a city of 150,000.
Flint was the place where the auto giant was founded,
and where his dad worked on the assembly line. The
scathing and quirky blue collar social conscience
documentary by the activist is shot with heartfelt
passion as it rails against corporate greed
and asks what happened to the American Dream and
its promise of middle-class prosperity. The grimness
of the subject matter is eased only by the
in-your-face gadfly antics of Moore and the film's
black comedy, that tamps down how depressing were the
layoffs. Interviews with fired workers and
visuals of abandoned rundown homes, contrasts with a
lavish party given by the clueless and uncaring rich
of the town. Visiting celebrities such as
inspirational speaker Robert Schuller, "Miss
Michigan,"Anita Bryant, Bobby Vinton and Pat
Boone boost morale by telling the unfortunates of
Flint to keep the faith.
gist of the populist film follows the intrusive
baseball hat wearing Moore and his crew in their
failed attempt to interview the cold-hearted chairman
on camera over a period of three years, whether in his
workplace in Detroit or luxury home in Grosse Pointe.
Moore uses archival footage to show how the auto
union started in Flint in 1936 and compares Flint in
its glory days during the 1950s to its current ruin,
where every movie theater in town is closed, most
stores on Main Street are boarded up and the busiest
worker in town is a Deputy Sheriff serving eviction
notices on families unable to pay their rent.
effectively serves as an irreverent response to the
Reagan era, with the future president seen on the
campaign trail advising the unemployed to go to Texas
to get jobs.
REVIEWED ON 2/15/2017 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ