Review: We Are Many

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Review: We Are Many

We Are Many shows us how people power is important but remains historical rather than radical. Where were you on Saturday 15 February 2003? If the date doesn’t immediately jog your memory then the event that took place on that day will: the world’s biggest protest against the second invasion of Iraq. Were you one of the 300 million who took part in demonstrations in one of the 800 cities across the globe?

This is the first feature length documentary by Amir Amirani. It tells the story of the biggest global protest ever staged and how it “changed world history”. This is his Herculean labour of love: it took 9 years to complete and was filmed across 7 continents included Antartica. Whilst the intention was to obviously focus on the demonstration against the Iraq war, it is the sub narratives that are of greater interest the: birth of people power, Arab Spring and culminating in the British people’s resolute no to intervention in Syria that lead to the historic vote in Parliament with MPs finally listening to the will of the people.

We Are Many is a mixture of footage from the time as well as recollections and views from a myriad of well kown individuals including: Hans Blix, Richard Branson, Damonb Albran, John Le Carré, the late Tony Benn, Brian Eno , Ken Loach, Mark Rylance, Pete Oborne . Some are frank in their disappointment that the demonstration didn’t go further and achieve more. Whilst others reveal what might of been, I was particularly struck by Richard Branson and his plans which may, had they had happened, led to altogether different outcome. Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector is one of the most poignant testimonies and also the funniest. At the time he came across as quite flat and monotone: if only he had been allowed to speak more.



Amir stated that his desire in making this documentary was: “Stories of mass action by citizens are rarely if ever told, and much less seen on our TV screens, compare with the testimony of politicians. From the start, I was intent on telling this story predominantly from the point of view of the activists and the public.” That particular aim is achieved and what he manages to do, much to his credit, is keep the story global. There is balanced coverage of the demonstrations in the West as well as in Arab countries and even highlighting the 70 people who demonstrated in Antartica and subsequently lost their jobs because of their demonstration.

However, this documentary for me lacked balance. As a testament to what happened at the time and why the Iraq war was such a travesty and the mockery of democracy by Tony Blair et al it was spot on. Watching the ludicrous statements about the alleged weapons of mass destruction made me snort with derision as it did at the time. Do documentaries have to be balanced? I am not sure. However, with this particular subject matter, I strongly believe, it needed to show the alternative view from people who did support war or at least regime change. There were some and even now still believe removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do whatever the means. Nearly all of the interviewees who supported the war at the time and who are now contrite about it all were shown and only Lord Falconer appeared to be the sole to say the outcome was the correct one. Another point where I felt as if the documentary might have been improved were the protestors interviewed and whom encouraged their friends to protest are all the types of people you expect to protest and be gung ho. I’d have liked to have seen and heard from their friends: the ones who never protest and why they chose to march. There were some unanswered questions – I thought it was interesting when Damon Albarn touched on the point – why didn’t the organisers of the march continue every weekend after that until the government changed their mind about invading.

The director’s had a story he wanted to tell and he told it well. The rise of the protestor and people power is not something to be laughed at. For those who don’t remember this global mobilisation and why Tony Blair is one of the most hated men in the country this is the documentary to go and see. For those of us who remember, We Are Many is a testament to what happened and a moment of reflection to ask: did those events trigger the hell that the Middle East is going through now?

It has a running time of 105 minutes and opens tonight, 21 May, in cinemas with a special Q&A chaired by Jon Snow: http://wearemany.com/cinemas


We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.


Trending on BRWC:

Sting: Review

Sting: Review

By BRWC / 2nd April 2024 / 9 Comments
Immaculate: The BRWC Review

Immaculate: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 24th March 2024
Madu: Review

Madu: Review

By BRWC / 25th March 2024 / 3 Comments
Civil War: The BRWC Review

Civil War: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 12th April 2024
Puddysticks: Review

Puddysticks: Review

By BRWC / 14th April 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:



Ros is as picky about what she watches as what she eats. She watches movies alone and dines solo too (a new trend perhaps?!). As a self confessed scaredy cat, Ros doesn’t watch horror films, even Goosebumps made her jump in parts!

1 COMMENT

POST A COMMENT

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.