Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17
  1. His (Townsend) staging has a tumult, a multi-POV immediacy that brings to mind Paul Greengrass' "Bloody Sunday."
  2. 75
    The result is not quite a documentary and not quite a drama, but interesting all the same. It uses the approach of Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool" (1969), but without the same urgency.
  3. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    What the film lacks in artistry it makes up for in commitment.
  4. 75
    It's the next best thing to being there, in that it's likely to make shuddering viewers intensely glad that they weren't.
  5. While it makes no bones about where its sympathies lie, these fictional stories show a genuine fascination with the role politics plays on both sides of such confrontations and how things can spin out of control with no single person to blame.
  6. Reviewed by: Joshua Katzman
    Absorbing docudrama.
  7. Is it too much to ask that the fictional scenes have at least some of the complexity and unpredictability of the real-life theater?
  8. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Picture's ambition, cogency and decent performances make up for its uneven aspects. Woody Harrelson has some especially good moments as a cop.
  9. 50
    In his directing debut Battle in Seattle, actor Stuart Towns end does an impressive job (on a shoestring budget) of re-creating the massive street protests that forced the cancellation of the World Trade Organization summit in 1999.
  10. Reviewed by: Reyhan Harmanci
    Getting an inside view on events is fascinating enough to carry the movie.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The chief culprits are Townsend's TV-movie characterizations and a very muddled message.
  12. Near the end of the movie, Django jokes that, after the protests, people may still not know what the WTO is, but "they know it's bad." That's a fair summation of how much insight Battle in Seattle provides for its viewers.
  13. 50
    Flapping like a scarecrow in the wind, Battle in Seattle is too frantic to make more than a transitory impression, yet too responsibly hackneyed in its characterizations to achieve pure tabloid hysteria.
  14. Townsend's sincerity, his admiration for the idealism of the people behind the anti-WTO protests, is never in doubt, but combining drama with historical re-creation is frankly a challenge his filmmaking skills are not up to.
  15. A drama is only as convincing as its characters. The people awkwardly forced together in Battle in Seattle are rhetorical mouthpieces tied to the sketchy plotlines of a so-so Hollywood ensemble movie.
  16. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    It's a movie by a true believer in anti-globalization, and it may win a few converts, but not among devotees of convincing, capable cinema.
  17. Well-intentioned but as earnest as a college freshman discovering campus politics.

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