Sicko | Movie review
Gadfly documentarian Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11) has irked us plenty in the past, but he’ll merit a Presidential Medal of Freedom if this scalpel-sharp exposé of American healthcare chaos achieves its aim—to awaken ordinary citizens to the insane inefficiency and homicidal inhumanity entailed by surrendering control of medical resources to private insurance companies that don’t care if we live or die.
If that sounds too much like a Nation editorial to be any fun, rest assured that Sicko is easily Moore’s most entertaining film ever. Dialing his habitual abrasiveness way back, Moore maintains a newly ingenuous mien while concocting ingenious bits of political theater, (e.g., captaining a boatload of ailing and uninsured 9/11 rescue workers to Guantànamo Bay to request that they be given a taste of the top-notch medical attention enjoyed by the alleged enemy combatants incarcerated there). And if that sounds too flip to be substantive, note that Sicko also contains scenes of unspeakable tragedy, including testimony from the mothers of toddlers who died of easily treatable fevers because some corporate drone did right by the shareholders and denied emergency admission.
Equal parts laugh-riot and call to arms, Sicko has reportedly been the subject of paranoid fretting in the boardrooms and spin-control command centers of insurance companies and pharmaceutical conglomerates ever since Moore first announced the project. Here’s hoping those concerns turn out to be well grounded.