Bowling for Columbine, a satirical documentary by Michael Moore in 2002 successfully explores the reasons behind the high rate of gun related crime and violence in America. By effectively ridiculing vices and folly of American society, Moore effectively attacks human behaviour, people, institutions and lifestyles through the use of satirical techniques. In Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore aims to convey his ideas relating to the high death rate in America by depicting the availability of guns, the inconsistencies regarding its foreign policies as well as demonstrating the source of fear in America. Successively, Moore changes the audience’s impression and attitude towards American society.
In this film, Moore effectively conveys his idea of the reasoning behind the high rate of gun related crime and violence by exploring the availability of guns in America. He successfully explores this through his visit to the “North Country Bank” in America. Satirical techniques of juxtaposition are already introduced as he walks into the bank with the intention of obtaining a gun, “Um, I want the account where I can, uh, get the free gun.” The director juxtaposes a bank, a daily public service with the purchase of a gun, illegal in many countries. By contrasting these two ideas of a bank and a gun, Moore successfully conveys the simplicity of obtaining a gun in America. The short scene cuts from him requesting an account to completing paperwork as he is then handed with a shotgun, “There you go Mike.” The ease tone and simple process in the obtainment of a gun in America is portrayed to be extremely straightforward. This is further reinforced with mockery as he exits the bank, “You think it’s a little dangerous handing out guns in a bank?” Satirical sarcasm is used in order to explore his belief that the availability of guns is one of the main reasons behind the high rate of gun related crime and violence.
Bowling for Columbine further highlights how the inconsistency of America’s foreign policies contributes to the nature of violence in America. This is successfully explored in the slideshow depicting horrific graphics juxtaposed with Louis Armstrong’s song “Wonderful World”. While the images of war and violence are displayed, “200,000 civilians are killed”, innocent lyrics from “Wonderful World” are juxtaposed, “I see em bloom… for me and for you”. By contrasting a positive idea with a negative idea, it is ironically implied that America is not a wonderful world, but in fact one of terror and violence. Moore successively uses satirical techniques of irony and juxtaposition to convey the inconsistency of America’s foreign policies and its responsibilities for foreign deaths, “U.S provides billions in aid to Saddam Hussein for weapons to kill Iranians.” This is already an offence against Iran; however it is further fortified by the act the following year, “White House secretly gives Iran weapons to kill Iraqis.” By aiding two foreign countries with weapons of destruction, Moore effectively shows how America is conflicting in terms of its foreign policies. The scene ends with the horrific bombing of the twin towers and cutting into diegetic sounds, “Osama bin Laden uses his expert CIA training to murder 3000 people”. This is extremely exaggerated and Moore uses this satirical technique in order to climax the idea that America’s foreign activities are the cause of this terrorist attack. Through this graphical composition exploring America’s overseas activities, Moore effectively relates how the inconsistency of America’s foreign policies is a main contribution towards the nature of violence and crime in American society.
In Bowling for Columbine, Moore successfully explores the issue of gun