Bowling for Columbine

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On April 20th, 1999 at Columbine High School, Colorado, Two students: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebald stormed the school grounds with two semi-automatic rifles and home made explosives, killing 12 students and a teacher, as well as injuring 21 others. The pair then committed suicide. This event was the inspiration for Michael Moore’s documentary Bowling For Columbine. In this film he tackles the issue of gun control in America and why they are so different to other countries around the world.

Bowling for Columbine is a documentary style film which uses a standard medium shot throughout the entirety of the film. Medium shots are used in documentaries to give the viewer a sense of realism. These shots are used to imply that the film is discussing a serious subject and the information being given by the interviewee is serious and factual as opposed to other shots which may make the viewer believe that camera has been set up and shot over a number of takes. Other than front on, there are no special camera angles used in the movie. This front on style of camera angle reinforces the seriousness of the topic and the person providing the information.

The use of music in this film is a technique used to trigger an emotional response from the viewer. An example of this in Bowling for Columbine is the Happiness is a Warm Gun montage which contains stock footage of a number of murders and suicides. Another example is the use of the Louis Armstrong song, What a Wonderful World, set to another montage of American foreign policy decisions over the last fifty years. These and other songs are used, often to the point where they can be viewed as sarcastic, because the songs often contradict what is being shown on the screen. While there are no special effects used in the movie, the music itself can be construed to a degree as an effect, nor are there any specific lighting effects.

Michael Moore uses a number of techniques to influence the audience’s opinion of his topic....
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