"99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film" tells the story of the notorious 2011 protests, offering footage of the protesters and a day-to-day record of how the movement expanded and went viral. Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman filed the following report for YNN.
The Occupy Wall Street movement deserves enormous credit for locking the mythology of the 99 percent into the American psyche.
The protests started almost exactly two years ago on September 17, 2011, and the directors of "99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film" were there from the first day.
In fact, they were there before the first day, from the earliest planning stages, to record what no one could have predicted - how this movement, originally conceived as a scrappy short-term sit-in, settled into Zuccotti Park, and then stayed and stayed, sprawling over months, winning more and more media attention, until it etched itself into the American landscape.
"The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film" offers a scrupulous, day-to-day chronicle of how the protests gradually expanded and went viral, until they achieved the identity of a larger-than-life media event.
Yet unlike, say, the 1968 youth protests in Chicago, the Occupy movement was covered so relentlessly and from so many angles, that there’s actually very little for this movie to show or tell us that we don’t already know.
The movie interweaves familiar-looking footage of the protesters with a sober and detailed analysis of all the ways the system is now rigged to keep the one percent in control of that very system.
As economic analysis goes, this one is trenchant enough that it wouldn’t seem out of place in the columns of Paul Krugman.
Come to think of it, people have probably read most of it there already.
"99 Percent: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film" captures the protesters for who they basically were: passionate, mostly young middle-class citizens out to change their country.
Yet the movie also features just enough naïve chatter about “revolution,” about changing things outside the system through the miracle of the Internet, to remind you that the Occupy movement, effective as it was in the area of perception, was also powered by a dewy-eyed 1960s rebel romanticism.
The Occupiers were a lot better at analyzing the problem than they were at coming up with solutions.
“Spread the wealth” is a message that probably 99 percent of us can agree with, but in "The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film," there’s little about that message that feels new.