Sicko (2007)

Director – Michael Moore

Writer – Michael Moore

Director of Photography
– Thaddeus Wadleigh

Editors – Geoffrey Richman, Chris Seward & Dan Swietlik

Music – Erin O’Hara

Producers – Michael Moore & Meghan O’Hara

The Weinstein Company. 123 minutes. Rated PG-13 for brief strong lnaguage.

STARRING: Michael Moore (Himself), Reggie Cervantes (Herself), John Graham (Himself), William Maher (Himself), George W. Bush (Himself) and Richard Nixon (Himself).

After his extraordinarily polarizing Fahrenheit 9/11, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore returns with a movie about a subject every American can agree needs reform – healthcare.

But while being quite possibly Moore’s most entertaining film to date, Sicko wanders somewhat aimlessly all across the globe by spending large chunks of time in Canada, France, England and in its stunning climax, Cuba.

Moore places the blame of America’s modern healthcare environment squarely on the shoulders of none other than ill-famed former President Richard Nixon. But whatever the origin of the modern healthcare system, the continued gouging of the American public by insurance and pharmaceutical companies is nothing more than greed by high-paid executives as demonstrated briefly in the film. Moore speaks to a few of the “casualties” of the system as well as a few former insurance company employees.

If he had continued to explore the labyrinthine organizations that manage our healthcare and expose more of their “Greed is good” philosophical approach to caring for their customers, he may have exacted a more poignant response from the audience.

As the film stands, however, just as Moore begins the moral and ethical investigation, he veers off on a grass-is-greener tangent exploring the government run healthcare systems of other nations.

Canadians can purchase health coverage when traveling abroad so they don’t get stuck with astronomical medical bills should they injure themselves abroad. English doctors, although employed by the government, can afford million dollar homes. Even Cubans have a medical center or pharmacy on every street corner.

But it is the French that Moore focuses on as the paramount purveyors of modern medical coverage. Not only does the government provide free healthcare to all citizens, it enforces 35-hour work weeks, 5 week minimum vacations to even part-time employees and will send a government worker to assist with housework upon child delivery.

There are many who contradict Moore’s claims about the ease of use for government run healthcare, an interesting double feature with this film might be Denys Arcand’s fictional tale of a man doomed to a painful death of cancer in the Canadian healthcare system, The Barbarian Invasions.

While always entertaining and occasionally emotionally engaging, Sicko fails by being a movie more concerned with it’s own wanderlust than the subject it begins covering.

Moore ends his film walking up the steps to the White House saying, “In the mean time, I’m going to get the government to do my laundry.” Call me what you want but I, for one, don’t want the government in my house even if they’re just cleaning my laundry.

Darryl A. Armstrong

2 thoughts on “Sicko (2007)”

  1. People shouldn’t get their facts from fiction and tend to give Moore the benefit of the doubt too often in thinking he doesn’t make some stuff…of course Cuba is going to try and make America look like jerks and themselves nice when a film crew shows up :)

  2. Good review Wes! I think this is right on. I think the movie was weak in facts – especially knowing Moore’s history of deliberately editing interviews to create false sense of ‘information’ and calling it ‘documentary’ material.

    Weak at best

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