Sunday, October 5, 2008

Review - Battle in Seattle

Based on the true events that took place in Seattle Washington, November 1999 where demonstrators organized to stop the World Trade Organizations Ministerial Meeting. The film weaves real footage while following fictious characters and their various points of view. Focusing on various peaceful demonstrator groups, police officers, citizens of Seattle, reporters and city officials who all play vital roles in the events that took place over the course of the historical five days.

Written and directed by thespian and first time director Stuart Townsend, Battle in Seattle is a stunning look at the protests against the WTO that took place in 1999. Townsend does a phenominal job of seemlessly weaving real footage with the fictious story and characters he penned. Townsend really provides a passion for the film and its message through his direction and vision of re-telling the five day occurrence. Townsend furthermore does a eloquent job of providing a realistic look into each of the various groups involved, including the struggles of WTO's members, the devotion of people who protest them and the anxiety of the police who are trying to contain them.

The cast of Battle in Seattle is oustanding throughout. Ray Liotta vividly plays the mayor of Seattle who is trying to keep the protesters at bay without violence, while allowing the WTO meetings to take place. Michelle Rodriguez, Andre Benjamin, Martin Henderson and Jennifer Carpenter play anti-WTO protesters who aim to peacefully stop talks at the WTO meetings and all provide exceptional and thoughtful introspection of their viewpoints. Woody Harrelson masterfully portrays a police officer who is assinged to riot control during the five days of protest. Meanwhile, Harrelson's pregnant wife, played by Charlize Theron, is unfortunately caught in the middle of riots. Rade Serbedzija delivers a poignant performance as disillusioned doctor who is trying to get through the message of heatlh care at the WTO meetings to its members with little success. Connie Nielsen finally provides a crucial performance as a TV reporter who is trying to get the real story of the demonstrations on the air, but faces her bosses approval.

The grand scale of Battle in Seattle is mesmerizing. Stuart Townsend does a fantastic job of accurately re-creating the events of 1999. He really drives home the message of the peacefull protesters and the use of the media to twist the coverage. The pacing and editing of the story are done very well, never slowing down while keeping the intensity throughout. The first and third acts provide the most impact to the viewer, giving them real facts, viewpoints and dangers that face not only Americans but the rest of the World. The second act gives a strategic and coehesive look into the tactics of the peaceful protesters as well as the Seattle police switching between control and arrest procedures.

Finally, Battle in Seattle is a powerful film that really delivers on message and impact. Townsend does a remarkable job for a first time director, in capturing the magnitude, development and ramifications of the five day protests. The ensemble cast together provides outstanding insight to the various personalities and viewpoints of all involved in the historical event. Battle in Seattle is a thoughtful and intense film that really drives home its message and gives the viewer something to think about. Ultimately a unforgetable film.