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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 33.82%
Average: 10.29%
Pretty Bad: 1.47%
Total Crap: 4.41%

7 reviews, 26 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"There’s Nothing More Satisfying Than Nailing An Insurance Company"
4 stars

Insurance companies are evil son-of-a-bitch fuckcunts. That’s a belief I’ve held long before I even knew who Michael Moore was. As Fahrenheit 9/11 was just a sermon to the choir of anti-Bushites, attacking these money-first, help-later corporations is like an aria to a Ferengi. Aside from the laws that demand automobile coverage, my views and experiences with other realms of policies and health assurance have only emboldened my stance that honest, hard-working folk don’t stand a chance in this country. What’s the point of paying into a system as a guarantee only to know their headhunters will do everything in their power to preserve their own bottom line? Moore has had his credibility issues over the years, mostly in trying to frame the guilty heads that have already been hanged; giving audiences the food off the spoon and then feeding them the spoon. Aside such overly exuberant shortcomings, his abilities as a filmmaker to inform and entertain from first point to last have rarely been in question and Sicko may just represent the high point in a well-documented resume.

Any block in America probably has enough health-care horror stories to fill up their own documentary; an assumption with gravity based on the tens of thousands of responses Moore received in just a week after announcing the project’s inception. A few of these tales serve as prologue to the bottom line cruelty that blankets the film. One man is forced to choose between two fingers severed in a table saw accident as the attachment of a ring finger costs five times less than the apropos middle one. Another woman is denied coverage of an ambulance ride after a car accident because it wasn’t pre-approved. She was knocked unconscious at the time.

The deleted scenes for this section alone probably fill the bill for dark, cynical comedy. For every accident though, there is something more disturbingly sinister and Moore traces these avoidable tragedies right up the ladder of these companies. Testimonies from a tearful claims operator and a policy headhunter, hired specifically to find loopholes so they can withhold payment show how two spokes in the wheel now have trouble living with themselves over the decisions they had to make. A former medical director at Humana testifies before Congress (perhaps too late) about how her career flourished while patients floundered to survive. But it was Tricky Dick himself caught on his own tapes justifying the Edgar Kaiser system of privatizing health care. Don’t get sick and you’ll be rewarded with incentives. Just not getting your money back, as Chris Rock impassionedly advocated in his stand-up routine.

What is the solution then? Could it be found in the 36 nations that rank above the U.S. in taking care of its citizens? For years, our neighbors to the North have had braggards within its borders and governmental dissenters from our own rattle on about their universal health program. Have we heard as much from England and France though? In the film’s most amusing section, Moore hears story after story about the people doing their own form of denying payment. They simply don’t have to. From prescription medicine to baby deliveries, their taxes cover the expense. Surely, American doctors accustomed to the luxuries that come with their profession would suffer under such a program. Not according to the one Moore speaks with, facetiously querying him about the crappy car he drives (an Audi) and why more families don’t live with them to share the cost of their million dollar home. While Moore gets us to ponder such unfathomable concepts, America needs to get busy rethinking its “freest nation on Earth” motto.

Where Sicko is going to hold up to scrutiny better than his previous films, Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, is in its reported camp of non-partisan finger waving. Sure, he can’t help but start things off with a choice Bushism (it’s too good not to), but the greater criticism comes to Hilary Clinton, once a leading proponent on changes to our health care system. After being unfairly shot down as just “the wife”, time passed, she went into hibernation on the subject and now it’s as if the body snatchers of the insurance lobby grabbed her and made it worth her while. Aside from the stringent anti-Mooreites finding their own loopholes in the stories of the uninsured and screwed over, the only real criticism worth surfacing would have to come from across the pond to debunk the nirvana he paints.

Moore uses that brush to expressly stack the deck in the favor of the cards he wants us to see. The sequences in England, capped by the ironic finding of an actual “cashier” at a hospital, are completely devoid of any counterpoint. Maybe there really isn’t one. But Moore’s history of stitching individual truths to make a greater one that is only about 75% accurate should have us wondering if there are any tales of woe over there or any doctors not living the equivalent of a country club existence. Whatever the case, if the American system wants to seriously start dealing with incentives, they should take a cue from the doctor’s rewards for actually making people healthier.

Sicko leads us towards the now infamous segment of Moore bringing 9/11 rescue workers (volunteers not employed and, therefore, not covered by the city) to Cuba where he’s discovered the suspected terrorists at Gitmo receive full health benefits. Watching up to this point with your blinders on, Sicko ends on such a moving and hopeful note that the tears may come involuntarily. With them off, it plays like one of Moore’s “stunts” like returning used bullets to Wal-Mart or getting congressmen to sign up their children for Iraq and the skeptic inside all of us should wonder (as with any documentary) if the result would have been different without the cameras on. (Moore recently commented on this very point by saying one of the workers snuck out of the hospital and snuck back in with another identity and received the same treatment.) Cynical or not, Moore slams his point home with a minimal amount of questionable behavior. And he probably would have got off scott-free had it not been for the inclusion of a personal act of generosity that is supposed to be a final remark about non-partisanship and loving your enemy on this particular issue, but is really all about him. But hey, without him we’d still only be hearing aboot these problems from the Canadians, so I’m happy to see the cameras still rolling sometimes long after they’ve got the shot. If we’re going to be charged thousands for film of our innards, what’s another ten bucks?

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originally posted: 06/29/07 14:00:00
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User Comments

6/01/10 User Name This documentary manages to shock and amuse. 4 stars
1/20/10 Croweater88 Free health care is a right, not a privilege. Australia has it too, why doesn't the USA? 5 stars
12/30/09 Dane Youssef An essential bitter pill that may save lives all over this dying country. America is sick. 5 stars
2/17/08 R.W.Welch Harpoon of U.S. healthcare makes its point. Moore's most valid shot. 4 stars
2/14/08 Johnno 11 years under right-wing government & UNIVERSAL health care. (Australia), america is dumb! 5 stars
2/13/08 timunsuri i just see the movie last night, it was moving,sad yet funny at the same time.. 5 stars
1/25/08 matthew a brilliant film, both hilarious and eye opening. Moore's best film yet. SEE IT NOW 5 stars
12/04/07 Andrew I love this movie even though it made me sad. 5 stars
11/14/07 mike I seriously want to move to Europe now or at least Canada 5 stars
7/23/07 Helen This film made me cry. These are true happenings. People are being denied health care. 5 stars
7/21/07 Dana A post card for the salvation of allopathetic medicine. Even free I'm not interested. 4 stars
7/15/07 Monday Morning You'll laugh and you'll cry, which is what the best stories make you do. 5 stars
7/11/07 Billy Don't waste your money, this film should be labeled fiction, not documentry 1 stars
7/06/07 zaw Who even said its wrong and lies not deal with insurance companies! 5 stars
7/06/07 Toni Sobering, heartbreaking and powerful. Best movie of the summer so far. 5 stars
7/04/07 Eric Great movie, but Michael Moore is still in it... 4 stars
7/04/07 Heather One of the best movies I've seen this year, what a wake up for Americans 5 stars
7/03/07 laura bennett Michael Moore should be ashamed of himself 1 stars
7/03/07 cam BIG Lies. Any one who would do any checking on his claims and stats, they are ALL WRONG 1 stars
7/01/07 Ole Man Bourbon Had it been more logical and focused, Sicko could've zeroed on Ins Co's dfradment of cust's 3 stars
6/30/07 Booyah Boy I'd suggest Mr Sobcynski should get acquainted with Errol Morris. Objective isn't boring. 5 stars
6/29/07 billybob Hold Bush & Cheney to the same level of truthfullness we demand of this filmmaker 5 stars
6/26/07 thejames socialism is good. figure it out america 5 stars
6/24/07 Hey Donny M So, you don't have a problem with "truth stretching", eh? 2 stars
6/23/07 DonnyM Stretched Truth but it needs to be to hit you hard. Enjoyable. 5 stars
6/22/07 Ed Sometimes Moore's demeanor gets annoying, but the message is true and powerful 4 stars
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  22-Jun-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 06-Nov-2007



Directed by
  Michael Moore

Written by
  Michael Moore

  Michael Moore

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