Disturbing documentary rips open America's dark heart

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A powerful and timely snapshot of a superpower traumatised by war and social strife, Michael Moore’s Oscar-winning documentary about gun control and violence in American life could hardly have arrived at a more pertinent time. Made in the shadow of one national tragedy but clearly lent extra impetus by 9/11 and war in Iraq, Bowling For Columbine is a sprawling, bullish, occasionally harrowing work of polemical entertainment. But it’s certainly no worthy liberal manifesto as Moore blends iconoclastic humour, cartoon sequences and confrontational journalism in an attempt to understand the darkest fears and desires of his fellow Americans. After putting hard questions to camouflaged militia members, trigger happy suburbanites, trainee teenage terrorists and permanently injured victims of schoolyard shootings, he finally secures a stunning ambush interview with National Rifle Association spokesman Charlton Heston. Frequently hilarious and audacious in its scattershot targets, Moore’s most accomplished film to date demands to be seen and enjoyed.