Sunday, October 26, 2008

Battle in Seattle

Today I saw Battle in Seattle, starring Woody Harrelson and Martin Henderson.

As someone who lived through the event this movie is about, I'd be lying if I said I didn't have bias going into it.

So I'm just going to divide this review into the "good" and the "bad" and call it a night:

The Good

• The documentary-like way in which the film is shot gives it an organic, authentic feel, as does the real news footage of President Clinton, Pine Street, etc.

• The acting is good by Harrelson and Charlize Theron (who plays his wife).

• The writer (Stuart Townsend, who also directed) did a good job of not "taking sides" in the narrative and displaying the fiasco for what it was—a situation that got out of hand mainly due to a third party that refused to respect the agreements that were in place.

• The person they found to play our Governor was both physically and verbally a lot like the real guy.

The Bad

• They changed the mayor's name, age and appearance (the real mayor was an older, heavy set gentleman named Paul; in the film it's Richard Greico playing someone named Jim). Why change something that is easily Google-able? They couldn't find someone that looked like the real guy? I find that hard to believe.

• The situation they put Charlize's character in is a bit ludicrous. The riots were completely out of control, and innocent people did get caught in the crossfire. But the "action" they had the cop take was too over-the-top to be believable.

• They didn't explain enough about what the WTO was trying to accomplish.

• They included shots of buildings in Seattle that didn't exist in 1999 (Qwest Field, etc.)

All in all, it's nice someone (an Irishman, no less) felt this stain in our city's past worthy of a film; I just don't see why the accuracy was so hard to achieve. Interviewing anyone who lived through it, a real story could've emerged that was more interesting than the two forced stories that made up this film.

And I'd say that even if I didn't live here.

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