Battle in Seattle (2007)

R   |    |  Action, Drama


Battle in Seattle (2007) Poster

Activists arrive in Seattle, Washington en masse to protest a meeting of the World Trade Organization. Riots and chaos ensue as demonstrators successfully stop the WTO meetings.

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6.7/10
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  • André Benjamin and Jennifer Carpenter in Battle in Seattle (2007)
  • Jennifer Carpenter in Battle in Seattle (2007)
  • Martin Henderson and Jennifer Carpenter in Battle in Seattle (2007)
  • Rade Serbedzija at an event for Battle in Seattle (2007)
  • Michelle Rodriguez at an event for Battle in Seattle (2007)
  • Charlize Theron at an event for Battle in Seattle (2007)

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23 September 2008 | jdesando
Small Steps
"Labour itself is but a sorrowful song, The protest of the weak against the strong."

Frederick William Faber

As a liberal, I empathize with the protesters in the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. And I do empathize. The need for world organizations and big companies to consider the health of poorer countries before appropriating their resources is paramount.

In Battle in Seattle, director Stuart Townsend uses the stock devices of the docudrama: smoothly inter-cutting between scenes of police and protesters and expertly interspersing authentic footage with the dramatized. The feel is as if the audience is participant; the dilemma of how far either side should go in keeping the peace or disturbing it is palpable.

The drama is enhanced by fictionalizing the opposing forces through the lens of policeman Dale (Woody Harrelson) and his wife, Ella (Charlize Theron), both caught up in the escalating violence and too neatly tied to the issues of each side. The challenges of the protesters are also too deftly tied to a romance of the leader and a follower.

This facile mixing of truth and fiction leaves me a bit cold, as if I were the victim of a fraud because the reality of the historic event seems trivialized by clichéd romances and tragedies. I am always dismayed by the Michael-Moore-style loading of the left to the exclusion of the right's point of view: What are the purposes of the WTO? Has it been successful? How? These questions are rarely explored any more than the complicated motives and lives of the protesters.

But the docudrama succeeds in illuminating the WTO and its critics. As history has written, little progress has been made during the intervening decade even though the talks were stopped in Seattle. But as one of the combatants points out, only by small steps and persistence can the battle be won. And so went the Battle in Seattle.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Woody Harrelson has appeared in such American politics movies and politically themed pictures as LBJ (2016), where he plays the title nick-name character of former Democrat American President Lyndon Johnson, Game Change (2012), Barry Levinson's political satire Wag the Dog (1997), Battle in Seattle (2007), and Welcome to Sarajevo (1997). Harrelson played the title character in Wilson (2017), but this was not former Democrat American President Woodrow Wilson, as with the earlier Wilson (1944).


Quotes

Mayor Jim Tobin: Be tough on your issues but be gentle on my town.


Goofs

When Lou is arrested at the protest, the police are shown handcuffing her hands with a zip tie. In the next shot while she is being held on the bus, she is shown wiping the bus window with her hand, her hands are no longer tied. Police would keep her hands secured until she was booked into a proper holding cell.


Crazy Credits

A Special Thanks to AWI and Ben White (who passed away in July of 2005) for the creation of the sea turtle costumes and the coordination of their use in protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle, Washington in 1999. We are indebted to various non-profit organizations and individuals who aided with manufacturing the costumes, and to the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) and Ben White for creating the idea for the sea turtle costumes. It was AWI's international coordinator, Ben White, who created those costumes and came up with the idea to put hundreds of people in sea turtle costumes on the streets of Seattle. We will miss Ben and his dedication to make the world a better place.


Soundtracks

Silent Night
Written by
Franz Xaver Gruber (uncredited) and Joseph Mohr (uncredited)
Arrangement by Jean Robitaille
Image Sonore Éditions

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Action | Drama

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