Just Do It
Director: Emily James
review by Caspar Walsh
This is the first film I’ve seen to reveal the amazing, inspiring work carried out by direct action groups. The film follows a year in the life of a set of committed, highly organised, and fiercely passionate individuals forming a working collective who, despite knowing they will be overcome by the force of the law, carry on.
We are taken to the beating heart of a Climate Camp and to coal fired power station protests, we see entire communities saying “no” to another runway at Heathrow, and most shockingly, we witness the heavy-handed tactics of the Danish police at peaceful protests at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2010.
Parts of this film unfolded like an old school adventure movie with real life heroes putting their liberty on the line for what they believe in. There is righteous adrenaline here, indignation and laugh out loud triumph. I watched open-mouthed as the activists battled against seemingly insurmountable odds. The goose bumps rose regularly.
The lady who makes tea when things get tense left me with an ear-to-ear grin. She epitomised the humanity and tenacity needed to keep going. Within a few minutes of seeing her in her cosmic cha cha lady outfit, my support for the cause was complete. As she rightly pointed out: “Never underestimate the power of a good cup of tea in a crisis.”
The question of what difference could the protesters make came up time and time again. If they knew what they were doing was futile in the face of such forceful resistance, why do it? Read the end credit update to find out.
I went on the anti war protest in London in 2003. When war began I felt utterly defeated. Had I done enough? Was waving a placard with millions of others going to make any difference? Peaceful protest is crucial but the filmmakers believe that direct action must happen to change the destructive ways of the world.
The question is, beyond recycling and getting on your bike, what can the viewer do to force change by those in power? Watch this film and find out. Documentary film making at its best.