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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

‘Sicko’ on DVD today

Michael Moore’s incendiary diatribe Sicko lands on DVD today in a Special Edition, and you’re gonna wanna check it out. If you missed the film in theaters, don’t miss it now — it remains my No. 1 movie of 2007 so far for its audacity, its pertinence, and its necessity. Moore has an amazing capacity for taking the obvious and seemingly inescapable — in this case, the debacle that is health care in America — and retelling it in a way that wakes us up from our complacency, insists that we shouldn’t be resigned to it, and leads a call for revolution with verve and humor. And if you did see Sicko in theaters, well, it’s just as powerful again at home: see it again and remind yourself how angry it made you.
There’s almost another whole film’s worth of extra material here, too. “This Country Beats France” is a missing chapter from the movie about another nation whose compassionate concern for its citizens has resulted in what could be the closest thing humans can get to paradise on Earth. Another missing chapter, “Uniquely American,” celebrates the generosity of the people of the U.S., who come through when their leaders don’t. In “What If You Worked for G.E. in France?” Moore talks to a French employee of General Electric and discovers that all the moaning we hear from American corporations about how expensive it is to take care of employees and treat them as something other than slave labor seems not to be an issue when decency is mandated by law. And don’t miss the extended interview with British politician Tony Benn — he’s the one in the film who notes how easy it is for a fearful, exhausted, indebted populace to be cowed by its government, among many other readily evident truths that few public figures seem to talk about; Benn makes you hope that there must be at least one or two other politicians who actually have the public interest at heart.

There’s plenty more, too. And it all only makes Sicko even more insolent, muckracking, and infuriating. Which is exactly what a movie like this is supposed to do.

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