When Brendan Behan joked that the first item on the Republican agenda was division, he might as well have been talking about a group of passionate zealots setting each other on fire.
This documentary about the meteoric rise of the Extinction Rebellion climate movement is an example of how the road to progress is inevitably lined with contention and bitterness when a community gathers — especially one defined by a shared belief or belief.
That these unspectacular things are portrayed in this film, co-directed by Maia Kenworthy and Elena Sanchez Bellot, is a testament to his documentary credentials (there’s also an executive production credit for Kevin Macdonald, one of the most acclaimed non-fiction filmmakers who is at work today). . This is not hagiography. It’s a portrait of the people who drove the locomotive, and it knows that it would be doing the environmental community a disservice by glossing over its internal disharmony.
The massive – but obviously not massive enough – global movement “XR” became a brand that inspired as much admiration as contempt. We are reminded that this was due to his characteristic penchant for nonviolent but hugely disruptive civil disobedience that could bring London to a standstill (“I’m sorry to be a pain but we’re saving our planet,” it reads on a hand poster ).
The fulcrums and timeline of increasing boldness they’ve been working toward create solid narrative building blocks to depict what it was like behind the scenes between 2018 and 2021. During this period, XR emanated from a small group of British activists fearful of political apathy towards climate and biodiversity collapse towards a true global movement – one that could bring down a metropolis one day and partake in the halls of power the next.
We meet Roger Hallam, an uncompromising organic farmer who initiated XR – something he jokes about with false modesty – after seeing his yields decline. For him, only suffragette-level arrests, all provoked by nonviolent means in the tradition of Gandhi or Martin Luther King, will grow the movement to the required numbers. But Hallam’s desire for a stunt begins to threaten the group’s growing validity, and when daughter Savannah becomes a youth leader at XR, brawls between the two almost inevitably ensue.
Much-needed credibility was provided early on by Farhana Yamin, an internationally recognized environmental advocate who, significantly, joins the movement after three decades of unsuccessful climate summits.
Yamin is the heartbeat of the film, endowed with strong but somehow humble heroism. Supported by her husband and children, we see her mentally preparing to tape her hand to Shell’s offices. She is also leading the delegation invited to discuss demands with then Environment Secretary Michael Gove after the noise and chaos of demonstrations in XR city center became too deafening.
Desperation brought Yamin on board. Having been at the forefront of the climate fight for so long, she had seen firsthand not only the flimsy assurances made to the cameras by world leaders, but also the underhanded tactics of the fossil fuel lobby. And you can still see conflict spots in her as she rolls the dice with this literally radical new approach to something she’s dedicated her life to.
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The soap opera is subtly underpinned by reminders that the greater cause is both on the high stakes and against the clock. rebellion never hits us with the facts on climate change, but does occasionally let the very real eco-fear of the subjects shine through.
As activists are carried away by police or mauled from a train roof by a mob of angry commuters, you find that this is ultimately a study in belief, sacrifice and youthful determination, even if the entire mission leads to burnout for some of its players. The philosophy and politics of civil disobedience become a further framework for the whole saga when we are told that the British Parliament is debating a bill to curb non-violent protests. The fight for the planet is also a fight for justice.
It’s hard to imagine a social movement garnering as much attention as XR. This is a worthy document of how this fuse was lit.
Even when published
In selected cinemas; certificate 16
This should have been a hit. Adapted from a 2010 novel by Deborah Kay Davies, director Harry Wootliff’s serious, enigmatic drama stars Ruth Wilson (fabulous as always) as Kate, a lonely social worker living in Kent. One day, an ex-con (Tom Burke, terrific) with shady hair walks into her office. We only know him by the nickname “Blonde”. And yes, Kate should probably stay away from blond, but that’s not going to happen.
She sorts his paperwork; He invites her to lunch. They end up skipping the sandwich and instead indulging in some shenanigans in the parking lot. Thus begins a toxic relationship like any other, in which Kate falls head over heels in love and struggles to face the truth: that he has bad news and that a boyfriend shouldn’t be stealing his girlfriend’s car.
Wootliff’s film is well acted, and Wilson is particularly good as a woman who hasn’t figured out what this coming of age is all about. The problem is, real things goes nowhere and offers little surprise — and zero suspense — in the storytelling department. Instead, it’s a frustratingly ordinary and annoyingly clunky display that spends most of its time going around in circles. Everything set up and no payout.
better than ever
Disney+; Certificate 9+
Newcomer Rueby Wood stars as Nate Foster, a theater-loving 13-year-old from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who dreams of seeing his name in the spotlight. After missing out on starring in the school musical, Nate and his best friend Libby (Aria Brooks) decide to take a trip to New York City.
Why? Because one of her favorite films, Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, gets the Broadway musical treatment, and our boy with the golden voice figures he can cut the open auditions. There’s just one tiny problem: his parents will never let him. Luckily for Nate, mom, dad and brother are away for the weekend – and you can see where this is going.
Based on his own semi-autobiographical novel, writer-director Tim Federle says he’s pitched better than ever to Disney as “Ferris Bueller meets Billy Elliot”. That’s a high bar, and his film boasts neither the comic timing of the former nor the understated magic of the latter. It also seems confused as to whether or not it’s a musical itself. Still, it’s an undeniably charming endeavor that offers important themes, a promising young lead, and a winning turn from Lisa Kudrow as Nate’s estranged actress aunt. Worth seeing.
The Bad Boys
In the cinema; Certificate G
Based on the multi-million selling children’s books by Aaron Blabey, DreamWorks Animation’s latest work starts off well, but eventually loses track of itself.
In a world inhabited by humans and anthropomorphic animals, a group of criminals known as “The Bad Guys” try to keep things exciting. Mr. Wolf (voiced by Sam Rockwell) is their leader. Awkwafina is Mrs. Tarantula (the hacker); Anthony Ramos is Mr. Piranha (the muscle), and so on and so forth. After a major heist goes awry, the boys face a serious prison sentence. But they might have a way out if they agree to a social experiment about — wait for it — being good guys for a change. Chaos ensues.
There’s a bang from Quentin Tarantino from the opening segment, a breathless and brilliantly orchestrated heist sequence in which screenwriters Etan Cohen (no, not that one) and Hilary Winston use up all their best punch lines. After that, The Bad Boys slips on a banana peel and gets tangled up in one too many formulaic subplots. The jokes fizzle out, the fun dies down, and Ocean’s Eleven gags are left out. It’s a shame really because that intro is dynamite. A crushing defeat wrenched from the jaws of victory.
By Chris Wasser
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/movie-reviews/rebellion-review-warts-and-all-documentary-exposes-the-eco-warrior-movement-41510837.html Rebellion Review: Warts-and-all documentary exposes the eco-warrior movement