The World According to Bush
dir. Karel
Opens Fri Oct 29
Clinton St. Theater

I have this sickening hunch that a lot of the political filmmakers who've been cranking out anti-Bush films for the past few years are secretly going to vote for him. Why? Because if he loses, their whole cottage industry will implode--making an anti-Bush film if Kerry wins would be as futile as trying to make Nightmare on Elm Street movies without Freddy Krueger.

That said, William Karel's The World According to Bush is, surprisingly, a better anti-Bush film than the rest. Boasting interviews with Hans Blix, Richard Perle, and Colin Powell, it's hard for the film not to feel more legitimate than other hurried diatribes. In addition, the film strikes into some previously unexplored territory--like examining evangelical Christians' fanatical, blind idolization of Israel, or showing American troops gruffly ousting a terrified Iraqi family out of their home, or including clips from a kickass speech from 87-year-old West Virginia democratic Senator Robert Byrd as he chastises his colleagues for acquiescing to Bush so easily.

But despite those original asides, The World According to Bush eventually (and disappointingly) drifts back into the safe, all-too-easy territory of vilifying Bush and his neo-con cronies--who already do a pretty good job of vilifying themselves. (Watching the filmmakers keep hammering at points that have already been bashed into the ground is dichotomization at its finest--if you want an example of what Jon Stewart was railing against on Crossfire the other night, this is as good of an example as any.)

Ultimately, The World According to Bush can't get past its own limitations; while all of the raging progressives' points are true, valid, scary, and heartbreaking, it doesn't change the fact that there are already a billion of these films out there, and none of them are going to do anything other than satisfy members of the choir who enjoy being preached to. If Kerry wins, this film could be a fascinating relic. If Bush is reelected, I guess the silver lining is that there's a whole slew of vitriolic, semi-talented filmmakers who won't have to change professions.