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The Green Life: Movie Review Friday: Battle in Seattle

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June 26, 2009

Movie Review Friday: Battle in Seattle

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Battle in Seattle (2008)
Available on DVD

In 1999, as the World Trade Organization gathered to set out its plans for the 21st century, it made the mistake of holding its summit in a truly free nation. The five-day gathering would live on in history, especially for what happened outside the conference rooms. More than 50,000 protesters from every walk of life converged to halt the destructive forces of globalization. It was a struggle for justice that, after bouts of police brutality and property destruction, became a shot across the bow.

Battle in Seattle is a film about that protest. Directed by Stuart Townsend, it stars Martin Henderson as an environmentalist driven to desperation after police kill his brother, who was defending redwoods in Oregon. Woody Harrelson plays a cop considering his morality after his pregnant wife (Charlize Theron) is brutalized by the police in the tear-gas confusion. Andre Benjamin has the role of a protester speaking out against the lack of regulation on fishing nets that have brought sea turtles near extinction. One of the protesters’ major complaints is the WTO’s push for unregulated trading and commerce, endangering many habitats and species.

Despite some cliches in the script, and a degree of historical inaccuracy (see This is What Democracy Looks Like for a truer account), this film is highly recommended for anyone looking for an environmental success story, or simply for a tense, emotional drama of moral ambivalence and forgiveness.

-- Will Hawk

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