Directed by Michael Moore, starring Michael Moore, George W Bush.

Rotund firebrand Michael Moore dons his baseball cap and goes a-hunting for fresh villains in this follow-up to his Oscar-winning documentary, 'Bowling For Columbine'. An awesome gift for self-publicity and some contentious content has created a storm of headline-grabbing controversy that propelled his latest film to new box-office records in the States.

'Fahrenheit 9/11' is a rambling attempt to cover a number of important issues - the nature of the Bush presidency's relationship with Saudi big business and the Bin Laden family; the effect of 9/11 on civil rights in the US; the prosecution of two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the inevitable reliance on the poorest and most desperate parts of American society to shed their blood in the interests of geopolitical necessity.

But really it's about a slightly dumb, very well-connected hick called George, who ain't great in front of a camera but has still managed to get elected to the most powerful political office on Earth.

In the midst of all the arguments over who is right and who is wrong, it is extremely easy to forget that this is, after all, only a movie. And Michael Moore, for all his partisan politics and expedient relationship with the truth, is a very talented comic film-maker.

His montages of W Bush's more cringeworthy moments are hilarious, his use of music and comic timing are superb and, in a sensitive treatment of the events of September 11 itself, he skillfully skirts around sentimental cliché.

His trademark stunts are present and correct, driving an ice-cream van around Congress while reading the Patriot Act through the loudspeakers and buttonholing Congressmen with draft papers for their children both raise a smile. But to his credit, he tries to stay out of the picture, though his undeniable egotism occasionally rears its head. When one interviewee says that new laws could be used to gag people, Moore jumps in with "people like me!"

Is it a documentary? Probably not. It's nakedly exploitative of personal tragedies and when one conspiracy theory inconclusively runs out of steam, Moore gleefully hops on board another. It's a bit like being trapped in a student bar with a bore who tells you that they never landed on the moon and that British Military Intelligence collaborated with Jimmy Hoffa to bump off JFK.

While Michael Moore might not be a sophisticated political commentator (and if you've read his books you'll know he's not), he is a tremendous talented film-maker whose flair and wicked humour turns what might have been a tendentious rant into one of the most gripping and vital films of the year. Go and see what all the fuss is about.

Luke McManus