Dog Eat Dog Films           110 Minutes                          Documentary R for language

Michel Moore creating a film that’s a love letter to America? That’s what this is, believe it or not. The controversial Director/Producer (first movie in 6 years) did not shoot a frame of film in the U.S. for this documentary even though it’s all about America. Moore’s mission is to show how countries around the world are using our principles and those of our forefathers better than we are. And he told us at the Chicago International Film Festival, winning the Founders and Audience Award there, that he loves America and made this film to say that he thinks we can do better. Click for our interview

We asked Moore at the Festival about how he work. We know he has a staff that does extensive research but found out that he doesn’t read it before shooting his interviews. True? He was emphatic. He doesn’t like to go into an interview knowing or expecting what his subjects will say. “ I don’t want to know because I want the reaction that I have to finding things out to be real. You see me get gobsmacked, you know, in the film. I really am hearing that for the first time. And I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I think that’s better than me already knowing.”

He wants it to be spontaneous and never does a retake. “No, no it doesn’t work……We either get it the first time or we don’t get it.” He says if you do something over, the subject starts acting and you can tell it’s fake.

We also asked if he put all the countries he visited into the film and he admitted he did not. Some places he couldn't visit because of the budget. There were three he did get to but didn’t put in the film. Estonia, Austria and Canada. He told us, “They didn’t make the cut….Sorry.”

He asks a couple in Italy about how they work and how much vacation they get. You’ll be astounded by the time they get to live as well as work and how happy their employers are to give it to them. And better working conditions in Germany.

The Penal system in Norway has murderers working in the kitchen with knives and guards without guns not worried about it a bit! Prisoners move freely about in this maximum security institution but without cells, violence, and the busiest place is the library!

Moore shows French school children what American kids eat for lunch as opposed to the three course meal every French child gets from a real chef each day. He starts spouting elementary French to these kids and their reaction is hilarious. And it’s even funnier when he puts a bottle of Coke on the table. They were horrified. The interaction is adorable.

Kids in Finland also have no standardized tests, no private schools, but they all of the schools deliver the same quality of education, plus, no homework. Parents here would like that as much as the kids.

And what about higher education? He talks to students at universities in Slovenia who don’t even know what tuition is because it’s free! And American students can go there, too! What a concept. And there’s more. Women are treated equally in Tunisia, no punishment for drugs in Portugal

While meeting with people and officials of even more countries, Moore plants an American Flag to show that the principles we cherish are alive and well somewhere, but not in America.  

Is this worth your bucks? Moore is very engaging, and even playful, narrating his journey without being biting and a turn off. We found it to be a funny travelogue showing us how different life could be if we followed our own principles. He’s not saying any country is a Utopia, but he is saying that when you see how others can live with less stress about work, vacations, education and health care, quality of life can significantly improve. After seeing this well-done doc, you may be ready to invade to take back American values and ideals. We are.