The Emperor’s New Clothes

DOCUMENTARY; 1hr 41min

DIRECTED BY: Michael Winterbottom

Occupying Wall Street: Brand (on Oct. 14, 2014)

The topic of Michael Winterbottom’s Russell Brand–fronted documentary — its title a reference to Hans Christian Andersen’s fable about facing the bleedin’ obvious — is as familiar as Brand’s cheeky verve. To quote the wound-up quipster, “The rich are getting richer, everyone else is struggling.” (Oh, really?)


Brand takes the imbalance personally, starting with his drab Essex childhood home town of Grays (yep, really), then scrolling indignantly through a bombardment of stats. In essence, post the 2008 financial crisis, between them, the US and Great Britain funnelled trillions to Wall Street and to banks. And while majority wage rises are largely a myth and taxes continue to climb, senior bankers have raked it in to the jarring tune of billions. Old news, but still news.


The usual talking heads and inflammatory crowd footage roll out at a decent clip, enlivened when Brand chats with battlers and shows up at fat-cat front doors. His torrent of info is eye-glazing but his equality agenda is crystal-clear, and more power to him for getting in amongst it. Blatant disparity will always be an outrage, even when it’s a lot to take in.