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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.81%
Worth A Look77.78%
Average: 3.7%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 3.7%

3 reviews, 9 user ratings

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Big One, The
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by MP Bartley

"Greed is...good?"
4 stars

Geez, that Michael Moore huh? He's always got to be complaining about something, whether it's the fact that America is letting its children arm and shoot themselves, or the fact that George W Bush may not be the best man for the job. 'The Big One' shows that even is his earlier days, Moore was railing against corporations and big business. He just can't let things lie can he?

'The Big One' sees Michael Moore on a book tour to promote 'Downsize This: Random Threats from an Unarmed American'. Instead of being a simple video diary of the tour however, Moore turns it into something else entirely (unbeknown to his publishers). Each place he visits, he's going to visit the local big businesses and see how they're treating their employers. More often than not, it's not well at all as Moore comes across workers denied jobs, forced onto inadequate benefit, and corporations regularly downsizing plants to hoof it over the border to Mexico to take advantage of the cheap labour there. Needless to say, Moore can't let this go without needling someone high up.

For those initially raised on 'Bowling For Columbine' and 'Fahrenheit 9/11', 'The Big One' may come across as an initial disappointment. There isn't the strong structure and all encompassing argument of those two, instead more of a sketchy travelogue of Moore on his travels, which leads to same sags in the narrative (a pointless visit to a guitar player for example). And while his last two films both ended with strong conclusions 'The Big One' has exactly the same thing to say at the end as it did at the beginning: corporations, by and large, are bad.

There's also a lack of the slickness that characterised 'Bowling For Columbine' and 'Fahrenheit 9/11'. Clearly, Moore has bought better cameras since 'The Big One' and also got himself a decent soundman.

But thankfully Moore's talent for upsetting the bigwigs and rabble-rousing are fully evident still. There's the stony expressions of CEO's he tries to present downsizing certificates to, through to the employers of Borders he has to meet at midnight in a parking lot, because their employers have banned contact between them. Even though he's selling his book at their store. Then there's the factory being shut down because the workers are too efficient. Then there's the politician Moore believes to be not actually human. Yes, it's as funny as he's ever been and it's actually quite endearing to see him take on corporations and stick up for the downtrodden before he became the huge start that he is now.

It's easy to understand why Moore pisses some people off. Yes, he's a rampant egotist more than eager to thrust his face in where it's not wanted. But when a woman in tears arrives at his signing, having just been laid off and thanks him for turning up, you can't deny him his pleasure at being the fly in the corporate ointment. And yes, challenging the owner of Nike to an arm-wrestle to see if he'll open up a factory in America may be in bad taste, but who's sicker? Moore for the challenge or the Nike owner for refusing to believe that American's want jobs?

And when Moore gets called on his potential hypocrisy of criticising corporations, all the while actually working for one, he ducks the question. But funnily enough, his hypocrisy doesn't bother me. Perhaps it would if I were a CEO giving him a job, but when I'm on the side of the people being sacked, he can be as 'hypocritical' as he wants as long as he keeps asking the questions no-one else will. And for those who believe that Moore is a Liberal stooge, Clinton certainly gets it in the neck here (although, admittedly not as much as Bush).

'The Big One' may not be the cleverest film that Moore has ever done, but it's certainly one of his most persuasive. There's a lack of attention seeking stunts here, and the vein of anger courses throughout the film. He may love seeing his face as much as he loves pissing off corporate America, but as long as he does keep pissing them off, I can take a little vanity and ego. And when ultimately Moore is fighting for the little unheard guy that no-one else gives a voice to, who can deny him his right?

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originally posted: 10/08/04 23:17:33
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User Comments

9/03/05 ES Detailing Pride Greed and Vanity amoung America's elite and in moore himself 4 stars
11/12/04 Steven Votaw Michael is focus of camera. Editing helps drive point not facts. Film serves man. 3 stars
8/02/04 John Aster Habig Broader than Roger & Me and just as hard hitting first scene is awesome 5 stars
6/23/04 Jack Sommersby Solid, focused, and persuasive -- and very entertaining. 4 stars
4/15/04 Agent Sands Not as good as "Bowling," but a wee bit better than "Roger." Effective. 4 stars
2/27/04 Charles Tatum Yeah, damn, who distributed this again? 1 stars
12/09/03 john unfortunately a very accurate account of corporate politics - excellent and insightful film 5 stars
12/17/02 Interrog8 Michael Moore is a genius, and this proves it. 5 stars
6/15/00 LEVI ALVARES Claude It's an essential film about the world in which we live. It's provocative, funny and sad. 5 stars
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  10-Apr-1997 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Sep-2004



Directed by
  Michael Moore

Written by
  Michael Moore

  Michael Moore
  Rick Nielsen
  Phil Knight
  Garrison Keillor
  Studs Terkel

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