Bowling for Columbine ★★★★

For an advocacy documentary by one of the form’s most partisan advocates, Bowling for Columbine is a surprisingly nuanced take on the subject of firearms in the United States.  Indeed, from segment to segment, the documentary itself reveals a certain struggle within NRA member and certified marksman (?!) Michael Moore: at one point, he cogently compares the relatively peaceful culture of our gun-owning neighbors to the north to suggest that the fundamentally inextricable problem lies not with guns themselves but with the currency of fear that fuels our discourse and metastasizes in our collective psyche; but later on, he and two victims of Columbine shamelessly shame K-Mart into no longer carrying bullets in their stores, as if raging to shove the toothpaste back into the tube.  Oscar trophies and Criterion treatment aside, it is unfortunate that Moore’s baggage limited (and will limit) the film’s viewership to the Left; it should be required viewing for all Americans.