Michael Moore's Oscar-winning documentary examines America's love affair with guns and violence. Loosely based around the Columbine High School massacre (and containing chilling CCTV footage from the school), one of the film's most memorable scenes sees Moore and injured survivors of the massacre visit K-Mart, where the bullets were bought, to see if they can get a refund for the rounds still lodged in their bodies (this confrontation brings an amazing concession from the multinational).
Equally fascinating is an interview with James Nichols, brother of Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols. There's also a telling interview with Marilyn Manson, the rock star demonised because the perpetrators of the Columbine killings were fans of his music; as he points out, he's a convenient target to deflect arguments that might otherwise lead to gun control. Astonishingly, Moore finds a bank that offers a free gun to new account openers. Asking if this isn't just slightly contradictory, the bank calmly points out to Moore that it's also a registered gun dealership.
Moore also asks why Canada, with the same gun ownership per capita as the States, has a fraction of the gun crime, and looks at the way the ultra-competitive American news channels rack up the fear of their viewers with lead stories concentrating on gun crime and murder. And he interviews the late Charlton Heston, the then president of the National Rifle Association, to ask about his appearance at rallies just days after the Columbine High School massacre and another unrelated school shooting.
The film also contains a contribution from comedian Chris Rock, who offers a simple solution to the problem - "Increase the price of bullets. Instead of 17 cents apiece, why not $5,000? At that price, you'd have a lot fewer innocent bystanders shot."
Moore walks a fine line between outrage and humour, leaving his audience either slack-jawed in disbelief or laughing out loud at the absurdity of the situation. He's not interested in placing blame but trying to find out where it all went wrong and what could be done to make America a sane, safe country to live in. In addressing these issues, he delivers a powerful polemic that looks at both sides, making it more effective and entertaining than a one-sided diatribe could ever have been.