Review – The Emperor’s New Clothes

Russell Brand joins Occupy Wall Street activists in New York City on 14 October 2014. Photograph: XPRussell Brand has this magical way of telling a story. He can turn something as boring as financial equality and the banking system into a beautiful story about love, life and everyone’s desire to live a meaningful life. And that story is, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

The film is Russell Brand’s attempt tell you something new about the financial crisis and the inequality we seem to be facing.

But we can’t forget that Russell Brand is a comedian and this is how he made it to be a millionaire (and maybe the divorce from Katy Perry). A position he doesn’t shy from when touching on the topic of taxing the rich. Though he does joke about holding off on that idea for a little while.

Brand’s film has come under some fire for his ‘activist’ approach. For example Rupert Hawksley’s review of the film for The Telegraph in the UK wrote:

“He finds it impossible to separate the comedian from the activist. So even as he is trying to make apparently radical political points in the foyer of a major bank, he is cracking jokes and playing up to the crowd. If he can’t take his own revolution seriously, how does he expect us to?”.

The content of the documentary is not something that can easily be followed. It isn’t a film you pop on to unwind to. And because of that Brand uses his talent of telling a story and humour to appeal to a younger audience. An audience that may not entirely understand exactly what it is the financial world is up to.

Otherwise I’m sure by the time the audience realised what the film is about, they’d have turned it off already.emp2

The film tackles a handful of key areas where the audience will for the most part know about the issue but not have all the information. From the financial crash, to the liveable wage and to those that aren’t paying tax.

Brand manages to show a very interesting comparison between the riots and how courts were set up in 24 hours to start prosecuting those who luted. 12 months for luting a crate of juice. That is in comparison to a banker who contributed to the financial crash. They got no time in jail.

The film is well delivered with a balance of Brand standing in front of the camera, to him bombarding some of the big banks.

Brand also uses his approachable nature with a wonderful balance of interviews with folk who are working more than one job just to come close to a liveable allowance.

This isn’t the documentary you would watch if you wanted to get to the heart of the issues. This is something you would watch when you know what the problem is, but don’t understand why it is. A film that at least is an eye opener.

Review by Jay Cook

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