Many years ago there lived a wealthy emperor who desired beauty and admiration above all, and spent all his money on the finest clothes. One day, two swindlers disguised as a weaver and a tailor promised the emperor they could craft clothes from a material so distinguished they would be invisible to any who was incompetent or stupid.
That was until that vain old emperor was strutting about bare as the day he was born, an inquisitive child raised his voice. “He’s not wearing anything!”
Just to clarify – we are the “stupid” ones, led to believe that our modern day “emperor’s” (bankers and investors) clothes are majestic beyond compare. But the rouse is up, Russell Brand and Michael Winterbottom tell us in their documentary The Emperor’s New Clothes.
Brand takes us behind the scenes of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 in the financial centres of London and New York, and explains why the world really hasn’t changed since then. It’s a similar tale we’ve heard before: the rich get much richer, and the poor are kicked while they’re down. But why? Why were looters prosecuted with 12 month’s prison for nabbing a crate of juice, but the bankers who scarpered billions of dollars strut about freely?
What follows is a frank and frightening how-to-get-stupidly-wealthy guide, tax havens, lavish lords and ladies. Brand does a marvellous job pairing archival footage, explanatory cut scenes, and filmed escapades such as the storming of Lord Rothmere’s mansion in London, to explain the ins and outs of the dire state of our global economy.
It’s entertaining and ridiculously informative at the same time. And if I can understand the goings on of this doco as an utter financial Neanderthal (I still get confused between what a “DR” and “CR” is on my debit card statements) – I can guarantee you’ll be walking out of the cinema filled to the brim with know-how.
But it’s not apocalyptic. Change can happen, should happen. We’re invited to all be activists for a cause that effects each and every one of us.
Brilliant concept. Brilliant movie. Brilliant Brand!
Reviewed by Nathan Giaccio
Rating out of 10: 9