Important, insightful and extraordinarily well made
E. Parkinson | Los Angeles, CA | 01/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Promising new director STUART TOWNSEND -- perhaps better known for his starring roles in films such as "A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" or "Queen of the Damned" -- proves to be an effective storyteller with his skillful and dramatic recreation of events surrounding the historic World Trade Organiation riots in Seattle. Featuring an impressive, but not distracting, all-star cast, "Battle In Seattle" presents an effective and engaging look at the motivations behind those forces who want to control the world's marketplace, with those who will fight for freedom, opportunity and balance in commerce. Regardless of one's political or economic leanings, the film holds the audience by presenting the human-drama endured by participants on both sides of the police lines. Townsend handles his cast with skill and grace, perhaps borne from years of his own experience in front of the camera. Given a more traditionally structured screenplay (and a less controversial topic), you can expect to see something truly profound from Stuart Townsend in upcoming films. Check out "Battle in Seattle," and enjoy!"
Interesting and accurate
S. Block | Ft. Lauderdale, FL USA | 04/10/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Years ago, TIME magazine had a cover article on the "Battle in Seattle." In the article, TIME had a map of downtown Seattle that marked certain high rise buildings. The building in which I worked every day was starred as "Ground Zero" for the Battle. When I watched the movie, it brought back my hassles of getting to and from work over the four demonstration days. Although I was in the midst of all the action, I didn't really understand the Battle in Seattle until I watched this movie. If you buy the DVD, as I did, be sure to watch the bonus features. One of the bonus features explains why the subject matter was chosen, how it was perceived by the writer and director, and most importantly, it explains very well the WHY of the Battle. I highly recommend the movie. I took one star off of my review because one of the characters was a shallow one played by an actress that didn't do a convincing job with the material she was given."
Neglected film about an important event in American history
Julius | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was one of the best films I saw in 2008 (yes, I was lucky to be at one of 2 screenings in Los Angeles). Frankly, it was better than any of the Oscar nominated Best Films. It's well-shot, well-acted, well-researched (as I understand it, the factual basis is completely accurate) and well-written. What's amazing is that though the writer-director is a well-established Irish actor, this is the first film he has made. The film is very much an ensemble work, weaving a tapestry of all the players in the Seattle riots (politicians, cops, activists, by-standers). What I particularly liked about this film was just how fair it was to everybody. Nobody is a villain even when they do very bad things (the cops, the mayor). There are very real motivations... people had the best of intentions. It's a complex portrait - nothing like the media coverage given to us. It's a completely entertaining movie, but it's an important film as well. I think this is a movie every patriotic American should see, and by patriotic, I mean those who believe in the U.S. Constitution. But it was financed by a Canadian and had no major studio distribution so thus, nobody knew about it."
Gripping drama based on true events
z hayes | TX | 08/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"All I knew of Stuart Townsend prior to watching this movie [which he has ably directed] was that he is an actor and also boyfriend of Charlize Theron. Well, "Battle in Seattle" showcases his directing talent, and has a reputable cast in it too. The movie makes for a riveting watch from the beginning, when a brief history of how the WTO came about is shown, right till the very end. The premise of the movie has to do with the WTO conference held in Seattle in 1999, when riots broke out and violence escalated between rioters and the police. There are three 'camps' in this movie - the first are the protestors, as played by Michelle Rodriguez, Martin Henderson, Jennifer Carpenter and Andre Benjamin. The second is the mayor who is trying his best to coordinate the event without too much interference or disruption [the mayor's role is portrayed by Ray Liotta], and finally, there's the couple looking forward to their first baby [played by Woody Harrelson in a cop role & Charlize Theron] and how the riots impact their lives.
The action almost never lets up from the get go - as a viewer, I almost felt like I was there during the riots, its so real and well-portrayed. Townsend effectively weaves in the storytelling with actual video footage of the events as it happened back in 1999. The cast does an excellent job as well, credibly portraying the various story arcs, especially those of the protestors and Michelle Rodriguez's performance is a highlight in this movie. The story arc featuring Wooody Harrelson and Charlize Theron struck a rather false note for me, and seemed overly melodramatic. On the whole though, this is quite a powerful movie with a compelling voice and I highly recommend it to those who love social dramas focused on activism.