Sitting in front of the TV, watching the riots unfold in Seattle during the WTO from the 4th floor lounge of my college dorm was really when I first got the sense that there might be something amiss in the world of global capitalism. Starbucks being looted, storefronts being smashed—it turned out that there were some people that were kind of angry about the status quo.
The recently released Battle In Seattle recounts these events through a dramatization that follows people from all sides of the local conflict that played out during the protests.
The Plot In 13 Words
Town puts down grunge and lattes only to get tear gassed by cops.
Save The Sea Turtles
It’s never easy to make movies about contentious, political subjects, especially where personalities are at the fore. One of the reasons is that characters who care deeply about marginalized issues tend to come off as self-important assholes with unrealistic interpretations of the world. In this case, the issue is protecting sea turtles—something the WTO took an active stand against in order to maintain certain commercial fishing techniques. Like most political issues, it’s peoples’ reactions to each other that cause the mess. In Seattle, what began as peaceful protests spiraled into chaos as cops pushed demonstrators and anarchists pushed back. In the haze of tear gas tempers flare and peoples judgments fall apart. The irrational becomes rational, and vice versa. In this case, Charlize Theron takes a truncheon to the fetus.
As a stand-alone film it’s well done. It’s well shot, well written, and well acted, which is way more than I expected. It does suffer from moments that are reminiscent of a good old fashioned Goonies Pep Talk (“this is OUR time….OUR place!). Mixings of actual footage of the demonstrations remind us that that was a pretty crazy little time in the history of American democracy, when an entire city was put under martial law and an international gathering was ground to a halt.
The Battle Call
I say see it. If not in the theatre, at least get it in your Nexflix queue.
7/1 Rubber Bullets.