The Big One

Newcity Chicago

DIRECTED BY: Michael Moore

REVIEWED: 04-20-98

More ridicule and irreverence toward corporate America from the mind behind "Roger & Me" and "TV Nation." Michael Moore drags a video crew along with him on the book tour for his best-selling "Downsize This! " At signings around the land, Moore is sought out by a procession of the shat upon: the tearful, the indignant, Borders clerks massing to organize. He listens and encourages-and even hugs-but the thickets of corporate structure only avail him this much: if you can't get people's jobs back, at least you can try to humiliate their bosses. When Moore shows up at company headquarters with earnest questions and phony checks for 80 cents (for the first hour of work for a Mexican laborer), all in the name of preserving the sanctity of the American J-O-B, he only meets with the obstinate smiles of the PR hacks whose J-O-B it is not to let their company look stupid. Worse yet, those smiles look an awful lot like the ones worn by the lying, manipulative book publicists whose job it is to chaperone Moore around and not let Random House look stupid. True, the film doesn't conceal that Moore, with a best-selling book for a major publisher, is rapidly losing his grip on his underdog status. Even so, the finale, in which Moore is granted an audience with Nike founder and chairman Phil Knight, is thrilling. When he asks the hip, aging Knight why 12-year-old Indonesians must glue together his tennis shoes under a repressive government, there comes as response a few moments of breathless silence, during which the head of this slick, triumphant world force looks as though he might just fall to his knees and beg for forgiveness. If the underpaid and overworked are trapped at the bottom, and those who prosper from corporate power but know better (like Moore) are trapped in the middle, could that churn of conscience on Knight's face be the look of someone-dare I think it?-trapped at the top?

--Ellen Fox

Full Length Reviews
The Big One
The Big One
The Big One

Capsule Reviews
The Big One
The Big One

Other Films by Michael Moore
Roger & Me
The Awful Truth (tv)

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