Compared to the chimp jokes and conspiracy theories that abound in anti-Bush circles, Fahrenheit 9/11 is restrained. Compared to the meandering and inconclusive arc of Bowling for Columbine, it's clear and pointed. Compared to the camera ambushes of Roger & Me, Moore's street antics (reading the Patriot Act over an ice-cream truck loudspeaker, inviting members of Congress to enlist their kids in the war) are gentle. And compared to everyday if-it-bleeds-it-leads TV news, his letting soldiers and grieving relatives speak for themselves is the opposite of exploitation.
Although Moore has been known to say a few unkind things about the intelligence and gullibility of Americans (frankly, who can blame him?), compared to most art-house political documentaries Fahrenheit 9/11 is a gust of red-white-and-blue optimism. We may have been duped into another cruel and unnecessary war, but it's pretty clear what the first step out of the mess is.
If only I felt that confident about the second step.