WRITTEN, DIRECTED BY AND STARRING
Michael Moore's "The Big One" is closer to "Roger and Me" than it is "Fahrenheit 9/11"...of course, that is partly due to its primary focus of railing on corporate greed. This film also has a lightness and humor to it that makes it a lighter, but still effective view. I'd wanted to view this film for quite some time, but could never find it anywhere...finally, it was released on DVD and I immediately snapped it up the same day I got "Fahrenheit 9/11."
This is early Moore (1997), so it's not quite as advanced technologically as his most recent films. However, it does exhibit Moore's trademark brashness, humor and willingness to confront perceived injustice.
The film doesn't offer a lot of solutions, and, therefore, I would have a hard time putting it into the "A" range. It does, however, boldly confront corporate greed as Moore travels from city to city on a book tour AND while in town visits corporate CEO's and businesses. Particularly intriguing to me was the situation with Borders...I have long been a Borders supporter...before going big business, they were big supporters of local authors. As a "local" author, I could always put my self-published books there and know they would find an audience. This film really does a great job of tracing their rise up the corporate chain and the mind-boggling way they treated their employees. This was news to me, and quite bothersome.
As always seems to be the case in a Moore film, on occasion I find myself a bit troubled by the personal agenda. Yet, I can't deny that I love how Moore transcends his personal agenda and ends up enfolding it in a common good.
Moore is inevitably going to be a target for those who question his motives...and, admittedly, sometimes I question the scenes he puts in the films. For example, a scene at one of his bookstore appearances where he meets a woman who had just been laid off that day came off as sincere but planted. Okay, I'll accept she was truly there that day...BUT, really...we could have heard about it without seeing it. It almost felt too forced.
Moore's scenes with Nike Chair (at the time) Phil Knight are funny, but incredibly sad as they so clearly reflect corporate greed. The same is true as Moore confronts CEO after CEO...most of whom always decline to see him.
This documentary is far above the vast majority of documentaries out there...it is insightful, entertaining, funny and sad. Michael Moore succeeds in showing that one person can make a difference...this film is a must-see for Moore fans & those concerned about the role of big business in the US.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic