UK Uncut


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

UK Uncut
"Some forms of forceful police tactics against demonstrators are captured directly and make quite striking viewing."

Who are UK Uncut? Some media outlets have presented them as unruly teenagers, some politicians as anarchists intent on destroying the property of successful corporations. If the idea of anarchists arguing that people should pay all their taxes so as to support public services sounds odd to you, you may welcome this opportunity to see what they have to say about themselves.

Originally shown on the BBC's Newsnight programme, this short documentary provides an insider's perspective, accompanying UK Uncut members on demonstrations and briefly exploring their origins. There are weaknesses to this approach - it would be nice to see some confrontations with those being accused of various injustices, for instance - but realistically, there is only so much one can say in eight minutes. Some balance is provided by nicely captured reaction shots showing the despair on the faces of police officers forced to deal with a politically complex situation.

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Inevitably, much of the action here is recorded with light handheld cameras, so if you suffer from motion sickness you'll probably be grateful for the short running time. Nevertheless the picture quality is very good and the action is balanced with interviews, many of them conducted on the spot as events unfold around the speakers. The film crew don't manage to be there for every important event so all we get on a tear gas incident is protestors' accounts, but we do see the symptoms of those recovering from being sprayed. Other forms of forceful police tactics against demonstrators are captured directly and make quite striking viewing.

Although most of those involved in the protests seem to be in their teens or early twenties, the film crew have done a good job of finding older activists and more varied perspectives, which helps to flesh out the picture provided by standard news coverage. The point is made that the companies against whom UK Uncut protest are not breaking the law but are taking advantage of loopholes in order to maximise their profits at the expense of the public purse. It does feel, however, that there is perhaps too much focus on scuffles and too little on political arguments. Yet although the film is fairly slight, for many viewers it will provide a dramatic introduction to a very different experience of how our society is regulated.

Reviewed on: 16 May 2011
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A look at the development of the UK Uncut protest group, which is dedicated to challenging corporate tax avoidance.

Director: Gemma Atkinson, Fred Grace

Year: 2011

Runtime: 9 minutes

Country: UK


Doc/Fest 2011

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