“Florida Fights Back” is a grass roots documentary about the 2000 U.S. presidential election in the same vein as “Unprecedented” and the first 15 minutes or so of “Fahrenheit 911”. Jeannine Ross and Bruce Yarock use the documentary forum to ponder why most Americans don’t care that George W. Bush didn’t win the popular vote in 2000 and, as they assert, illegally “stole the election”. They also suggest that a federal investigation of the 2000 election be mounted and criticize governmental leaders for not insisting on such an effort. Other than its obviously small budget, “Florida Fights Back” is different than most other documentaries about the election of 2000 because it examines the event and its aftermath from the viewpoint of Floridians.
The film is, for the most part, a traditional documentary. There are a few attempts at humor, including a couple of animated sections, but it’s primarily a combination of interviews and protest footage. Most of the screen time is divided between Vincent Bugliosi (Author of “Betrayal of America” and former L.A. Deputy D.A.), Bob Kunst (activist and Chairman of The Oral Majority) and Greg Palast (reporter for the BBC), all of who are great speakers and certainly present their case. It’s great to see footage of events that most news stations didn’t cover or left on the cutting room floor. The lack of support from the local Democratic Party, namely Broward County, is briefly approached but interesting. It is a shame that several sections of the documentary contain only stills and no footage, it would have been great, for example, to see moving images from the Washington, DC protest that directly followed the election.
There are better documentaries out there that cover the 2000 election, but that doesn’t necessarily make “Florida Fights Back” any less important. The film may not cover the issue as clearly as some of its shelf mates, but it is great to see the issue coming from a grassroots perspective and a Floridian one at that. Along with several other documentaries that have been produced over the last couple of years, “Florida Fights Back” is an important film for all Americans to see, regardless of their political viewpoint. It truly does leave you wondering how the hell we will ever recover from the mistakes and events of the last 4 years.