Roger and Me is a documentary film, chronicles of the efforts of General Motors, one of the world’s largest corporation. Michael Moore makes the social catastrophe, happened in his native city Flint (Michigan) as the theme of his first documentary. This catastrophe happened after the General Motors’ direction decided to close all their enterprises, situated in that city. The entire film Michael Moor chases Roger Smith, the head of this corporation to tell him about the consequences of this decision that led to absolute unemployment. It is hard to imagine, but over 30 thousand of people (from the 150.000 city’s residents) lost their job. Because the GM Corporation was only the one employer in town, this decision led to a very powerful blow, from which Flint may never restore itself
Michael Moore’s way to say about this terrible mistake was quite unusual – he used good humor and satire as his weapon. To get the comical effect he uses his original montage, which after became Moore’s corporate identity. As a result, after this film went rental there were a lot of serious permutations in the press-office of GM. Also this film attracted a lot of attention by high amount, flew from the box offices. The documentary phenomenon itself turned into possibility to bring enough money.
The film is strong itself, there are many powerful scenes, for example – Roger Smith, who closed the giant auto-factory of Flint and the scene, where he has his fun at the Christmas party, citing Dickens while the other scene in that time is the eviction of some family because of high debt. This film is potentially funny documentary about the subject that is not that hilarious that it is supposed to be shown. He shows what happens when the entire city becomes ruined, but is isn’t because of lack of hard work, but because of simple human greed. These funny moments are made to keep the viewer interested in really depressing film.
This film shows the attempts of Michael Moore and his team to get a camera interview with Roger Smith; to get him to Flint, to show the devastation he caused. Moore makes an archival and television footage, where he contrasts Flint in it its wealth days with the situation after the GM’s decision to close that car factory. Rats in city outnumber people as 4:3 because it is impossible to collect garbage more than the twice a months. The only man with a job is Sheriff Fred Ross, who evicts families behind their rents.
In the end of the film, at a General Motors company Christmas party, Moore and his team get close to Smith – they ask him to visit Flint; but only the refuse comes as the answer.
Even the credit scene has its humor: comes out the note, that Roger and Me can’t be shown in the city of Flint because every movie theater has been closed.
The main message of this film is the message about the way how big American corporations make their profit from ruining the lives of their own workers. This movie is something like the counterargument to all the sickness of America’s “excellence search” mentality. “Roger & Me” is the film, which clearly shows the arguments of Moore, his aspiration to deliver his message, to change the society of those days, to show them that greed can destroy the “American dream”.
Michael Moor is probably one of the best documentalist of modernity, so he tried to show the hopelessness of the city of Flint’s situation. He showed how people get money during the unemployment, how famous people try to reassure depressed people, how the government tries to save the economics of the city. But still, it isn’t the main idea, because the main idea is the way of Michael Moor to say about the city of Flint’s crisis.
He has his very argument to spread this information is his birthplace – the city of Flint. It’s his native city, so the attempt just to save Flint led him to the filmmaker career. Also this film attracted a lot of attention, so the city could be saved from the future devastation.
As it was said in the beginning, Roger & Me is a very powerful film, where incompatible can combined: irony and hard, cruel time; the person, who literary destroyed 30.000 lives talks about the kindness; incarnation of Scrooge quotes Dickens; the person, who has almost everything and the family, evicted during the Christmas Eve. It is both sad and funny, and many times during the film the viewer can have some controversial feelings about the scenes.
Michael Moore and his crew did their job very well. They didn’t get Roger Smith to Flint, but at the same time they’ve got such needed attention from the GM corporations’ leadership and mass media.