Documentarian Michael Moore’s work has always depended on the prevailing political climate. It should come as no surprise that Moore’s currently in production next film is changing focus from foreign policy to the current financial crisis.
According to a story in the Hollywood Reporter–
The untitled movie will contain an end-of-the-empire tone, say those familiar with the project, and Moore no doubt hopes that this will give it a more general feel that will untether it from a specific political moment.
For Moore, this sounds like a return to the grounds of his first film, 1988’s Roger And Me. In that film, he charted the economic depression that hit his hometown of Flint, Michigan after several of the major automotive manufacturers closed their plants their in favor of using cheaper labor in Mexico. Since financial markets can be volatile and change quickly, it is possible that by the time the film hits theaters as expected next spring it may be already out of date or face audiences who have already tired of the topic. Reportedly, the Weinstein Company passed on distributing the film for just this reason.
Frankly, I’m seeing this not only as a return to his roots, but perhaps a chance to reinvent himself a bit. His sardonic and at times pessimistic on-screen persona has served to help push the three documentaries he produced during the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency to a worldwide box office take of over $300 million. But next year, Bush will no longer occupy the Oval Office and even if the roots of the world’s current financial problems can be laid at his doorstep, I don’t know if audiences will want to continue to blame his administration or get to work on fixing the problem. Will Moore embrace the spirit of hope and moving forward to solve our problems that surrounds president-elect Barack Obama?