Michael Moore's controversial documentary is a coruscating attack on the first George W Bush administration, from his contentious 2000 election victory through to the invasion of Iraq. Mixing the political and the personal, the double Cannes-winning film shows that Bush, as one American critic wrote, is "incompetent, dishonest, failing in the war on terrorism and has bad taste in friends".
Moore points out that prior to 9/11, Bush had been on vacation for 42 per cent of the time; that he'd received a briefing document detailing Bin Laden's terrorist intentions in August 2001; that after 9/11, 142 Saudis, including 24 members of the Bin Laden family, were flown, unquestioned, out of America; that companies his father had an interest in received $1.4bn over three years from the Saudis; that Saudi Arabia has $360bn invested in America, seven per cent of the country's economy.
But as well as the political, Moore also returns to his hometown Flint, Michigan, where Lila Lipscomb is grieving the death of her son in Iraq. Moore joins Lipscomb on a journey to the White House and, using footage from contacts in Iraq, shows the real brutality of the war and the disillusionment of soldiers at the front. With an anti-war Marine corporal, he confronts members of the Senate to ask why only one of their members has a son as an enlisted soldier with the occupying forces, and suggests they should get their sons and daughters to sign up; curiously, few agree.
Returning to Bush, he shows the chillingly absurd seven minutes when, told of the dual attacks on the Twin Towers, he simply sat in a junior school class reading a picture book, unable to act because not only wasn't anyone there to tell him what to do, but also because he began to realise that the attacks could have been launched by those he had befriended.
Disney, who made the film, refused to release it in America in election year, but Miramax paid $6m for the rights. Despite the small number of cinemas that it opened in, it was sold out days in advance and became the first documentary to cross the $100m box-office mark in the country. And, despite the best efforts of the American right, not one of the facts stated in the film has been proved wrong.
Given the breadth of the film, it is, understandably, perhaps not as tightly focused as Bowling for Columbine, but it is still the most potent and important antidote to many of the media myths that surround Bush and his administration.