The Yes Men (2003)
Directed by: Dan Ollman, Sarah Price, Chris Smith
Premise: A documentary film about a group of anti-globalization activists who impersonate representatives of the World Trade Organization and go on speaking engagements around the world to present the WTO in a non-flattering light.
What Works: The film is very funny in a sort of thinking man’s Jackass way. The activists have made the pranks about the politics, and this allows them to avoid long bits of exposition or moralizing on the WTO’s policies. The film builds with each prank, and each one is more outrageous than the last. The film lets its audience share in the excitement and the potential danger for the activists as we wonder with them how the presentations will be received and if they will be caught.
What Doesn’t: This is not an objective documentary and does not represent itself that way. For example, Fahrenheit 9/11 director Michael Moore gives the explanation of what the WTO does and what the anti-globalization efforts are attempting to do. While the filmmakers have no need to be objective, it would have strengthened their arguments to give the WTO a chance to defend itself.
DVD extras: Commentary track and deleted scenes.
Bottom Line: This is not a brilliant film but it is highly entertaining and gives an inside look into the life and work of a group of activists largely demonized by both Western governments and the mainstream media. Fans of Michael Moore and other activist documentaries will want to check this out.
Episode: #59 (July 10, 2005)