Bowling for Columbine

By James Keller

Let’s make two things perfectly clear: First, Bowling for Columbine doesn’t serve as a rock-solid argument for gun control. And second, it was never meant to.

Instead, Michael Moore’s latest documentary chronicling America’s violent gun culture serves as an insightfully clever and painfully descriptive ethnography of the people behind the gun lobby, the American pro-gun movement, the peaceful country of Canada and, most of all, the victims of gun violence. But this isn’t to say that Moore’s film is without holes.

Of course, the interviews, facts and statistics are slanted to support Moore’s views, and some of his leaps in logic are weak at best. Moore seems to conclude, rather simply, that since the two teens that shot up Columbine High School bowled the morning of the Colorado shooting (hence the film’s title), the same connection could be made of bowling and violence as video games, movies, music and really anything else. But again, Moore never tries to convince people.

Bowling for Columbine preaches to the converted, and for the converted, it’s entertaining and hilarious. He covers all the bases from an interview with NRA President and Moses Charleton Heston to a one-on-one with Marilyn Manson to “A brief history of the United States” from the good folks behind South Park. While Moore probably isn’t changing any minds, Bowling for Columbine is a tremendously funny inside joke for people who already think like he does.