12/04/2012 20:16

Review of Sicko (2007), dir. Michael Moore


DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE… unless you seek the truth that media will not show you. Unless you are sick and tired of being told that everything is just fine and even if it’s not, people in charge will surely take care of it. If you think you are ready to face some nasty reality, this review is a good start. I dare you to watch this mind-bending and eye-opening piece of truth.


Sicko is an edgy documentary by American filmmaker and screenwriter Michael Moore. The movie casts a critical eye on the American healthcare system, which is compared to that of Canada, Britain, France and Cuba. Moore describes abusive financial practices of some of the largest insurance companies and politicians and warns that money is becoming much more important than human beings.


The movie shows shocking testimonies of people who were refused medical coverage of surgeries for some ridiculously trivial reasons so that the insurance companies could pan out ever more quickly. The movie reveals the job of a group of employees of some U.S. insurance companies, which resembles the work of detectives. What they actually do is a detailed research of all the illnesses the person who is claiming his right to medical coverage has ever contracted. If the detective comes across the slightest pullback in the list of the patient's health history, they are allowed to deny the patient’s medical coverage, which in turn means more profit for the insurance companies. The evidence backing up these inhumane practices is provided by a real doctor who found the courage and confessed that when she denied surgeries to several people, she was promoted. As anyone can guess, without those treatments the patients died.


The documentary also shows several volunteers who helped to save the injured from the World Trade Center ruins after the 09/11 catastrophe. You think they would be treated as heroes. But what reward did they actually get from the US government? They are suffering from serious health problems the treatment of which costs a fortune. In the movie Moore takes them to Cuba, where they can get the same medicaments for incomparably lower prices.


Since the movie was made in 2007, it does not really cover the current situation. Today’s America is much different thanks to Obama’s PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) and the 2010 Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act. By increasing coverage of the so-called pre-existing conditions, these new measures enabled more Americans to get medical insurance. As a result, the work of the insurance detectives has become significantly restricted. Nevertheless, it is still important to know what the situation in America used to be like and what could happen if the public remained blind and deaf to what is undoubtedly happening even now.


Sicko is definitely worth watching because of its genuine portrayal of the dark side of the truth. Companies and governments do not want people to see such things. Moore helps us realize how little we know about the world around us and how much we miss if we do not pay attention. After all, it is no surprise. We live in a world in which the media provide the society only with the "appropriate" information.


Some could argue that what Sicko shows is a very extreme point of view. That might be true. Nevertheless, objectivity is not possible without considering the extremes. Based on this assumption, I would like to remark that although at times Moore’s comments are rather ironic and mocking, his attitude is not black and white. The audience has enough space to form their own opinion. Besides that Moore offers plain facts, so consequently nobody can unjustly label the documentary a conspiracy theory, a phrase that has recently become a useful tool for hiding the inconvenient truth from the public.


Personally, I think the main idea behind Sicko is not necessarily to persuade the audience of what the filmmaker is trying to make us see, but to cast light on the world we live in, even if the reality is not pleasant. Because of that I would recommend it to everybody who simply cares about things and who believes that to doubt means to think and that thinking is the basic prerequisite to freedom.


There is so much information and so little time for investigation as far as the individual is concerned. Therefore, I would like to appeal to all of you to react to his article by recommending a documentary of your own choice that deals with some other burning topics. This is a very easy way how to learn about important issues without much effort and share knowledge with each other.

Dominika Kepštová