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Battle in Seattle

Lifeless plot and characters sink a docudrama about the 1999 WTO protests.

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The unrest in the streets of Seattle during the World Trade Organization conference would be a good subject for a thoughtful documentary. The issues it raised about globalization are still relevant, and the events spawned provocative questions about protest itself. Instead, we get a docudrama from actor-turned-writer/director Stuart Townsend. Despite its all-sides approach, Battle is heavily slanted toward photogenic youthful agitators, and its claims to veracity are seriously undermined by soap-operatic threads about romance, pregnancy and a news bimbo who goes rogue. The ensemble cast includes Ray Liotta, Woody Harrelson, Charlize Theron, Martin Henderson and Andre Benjamin, but in quickly sketched roles, further neutered by making-a-point-here lifeless dialogue. Benjamin brings a little spark, but even this dapper dresser can't rise above the endangered-sea-turtle outfit he's trapped in. Townsend begins and ends his film with heavy critique of the WTO, but the amateurish filler likely won't inspire much meaningful action. Starts Fri., Sept. 26. SouthSide Works (AH)

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