Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

Battle in Seattle

Battle in Seattle tells the story of the 1999 protests against the WTO Ministerial Conference but fails to provide adequate context.

Ten years after protests in Seattle against the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Conference, questions over their effectiveness remain. In this 2007 film, the director Stuart Townsend doesn't attempt to answer those questions, and instead tells the story of the protests through seven individuals' experiences. With issues ranging from hunger, commercialisation, environmental degradation and exploitation, protesters descended on the city by the thousands in the days leading up to the conference. The majority intended to express their frustration at being locked out of decision making, but as the numbers of protesters rose, the roads leading to the Washington State Convention and Trade Center were blocked, preventing delegates from reaching the conference. Protests escalated when a group of anarchists began vandalising stores such as Gap and Starbucks, causing fighting with other protesters and clashes with police. Townsend succeeds in portraying the diversity of agendas and attitudes among protesters as well as the difficult decisions faced by Seattle's mayor, played by Ray Liotta. But the film falls short in providing adequate context for the protests. Woody Harrelson gives the strongest performance, playing a conflicted police officer whose initial sympathy for the protesters is reversed when police mistake his pregnant wife for a demonstrator.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National