Battle in Seattle

Battle in Seattle


Set in Seattle, in November 1999, when thousands of protestors took to the streets to take a stance against the World Trade Organistation. Among them are Django (Andre Benjamin), Lou (Michelle Rodriguez) and Jay (NZ's Martin Henderson). Ray Liotta plays the mayor of Seattle, and Charlize Theron his pregnant wife. All their stories intertwine as the peaceful demonstration quickly escalates into a full-blown riot.

Flicks Review

You can divide this film into two parts. On one hand there are the riot recreations and the visual style employed to put them up on screen. Conversely, you have the multiple narratives and storyline elements.

The former is exceptionally well done, with frantic handheld camerawork spliced together with existing news footage to create a sense of hyper-realism that really gets the heart pounding. It’s the closest you’ll get to a front-row seat view of best-intentioned events swirling irreversibly out of control. It is a perfectly chaotic, anarchic aesthetic and the perfect presentation for events of a similar nature. Robert Del Naja from Massive Attack provides a score that underpins the action with a sense of urgency.

Unfortunately, the story itself is a little weak and can’t match the quality of the cinematography and editing. Too often it strays into over the top territory or veers dangerously close to cliche. There is a stellar cast carrying this, though, and all the names you’ve heard of deliver rock solid performances. The ones you haven’t heard of, well, they show there’s a reason why that’s the case.

The positives outweigh the negatives, with the film showing a passionate commitment and sincerity for its political viewpoint that’s enough to get you swept up in the stylised anti-corporate message.

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 2 ratings, 2 reviews
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when you do not know anything about WTO, why you come to make comments?
The movie is all about a story, but some story comes true....

For some reason, Battle In Seattle was only screening at The Empire in Island Bay - out of all the cinemas in Wellington, only one was screening it?
I loved the film. It made me laugh, it made me cry. The acting was superb. My biggest disappointment was that the sound did not sync in at least three scenes. Picture lips moving, sound coming out, but they did not match. How does a film get to international distribution with sound problems to such a huge degree?!?!
I would have given it 5 out of... More 5, but it loses 2 for the sound issue.Hide

The Press Reviews

53% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • The result is not quite a documentary and not quite a drama, but interesting all the same. It uses the approach of Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool" (1969), but without the same urgency. Full Review

  • While it makes no bones about where its sympathies lie, these fictional stories show a genuine fascination with the role politics plays on both sides of such confrontations and how things can spin out of control with no single person to blame. Full Review

  • Townsend's sincerity, his admiration for the idealism of the people behind the anti-WTO protests, is never in doubt, but combining drama with historical re-creation is frankly a challenge his filmmaking skills are not up to. Full Review

  • A drama is only as convincing as its characters. The people awkwardly forced together in Battle in Seattle are rhetorical mouthpieces tied to the sketchy plotlines of a so-so Hollywood ensemble movie. Full Review

  • Picture's ambition, cogency and decent performances make up for its uneven aspects. Woody Harrelson has some especially good moments as a cop. Full Review