The Emperor's New Clothes

Directed by Michael Winterbottom

Starring Russell Brand

Michael Winterbottom, celebrated director of 24 Hour Party People, The Road to Guantanamo, and The Trip, joins forces with actor, comedian, and provocateur Russell Brand for that most unlikely of documentary approaches: an uproarious critique of the world financial crisis. Building on Brand’s emergence as an activist following his 2014 book Revolution, where he railed against “corporate tyranny, ecological irresponsibility, and economic inequality,” The Emperor’s New Clothes pairs archival footage with comedic send-ups conducted in the financial centers of London and New York. Brand spotlights not only how the crisis affected the working class around the world, but also how the uber-wealthy benefited from the downturn. With Winterbottom providing his signature ingenuity and pinpoint directorial control, they generate a riveting, boisterous, and, at times, cathartic riff on the extreme disparities between the haves and have nots in contemporary society.


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  • ★★★★ review by Matt Thomas on Letterboxd

    Yes, Russell Brand is a pompous, egotistical, patronising loud mouth.

    But my God, at least he's DOING something!

    Sure, you can criticise him for stating the obvious. However we sometimes need this spelling out. His voice has helped get the (perfectly sound and coherent) message he has heard by the politically disenfranchised. Having Winterbottom direct/steer/wrangle him certainly helps (you just need to see The Trews to see how he can lose his way without guidance).

    We shouldn't need to have someone like Russell Brand standing up for us.

    But we need Russell Brand.

    And more like him.

  • ★★★½ review by Gaz Elliott on Letterboxd

    Good documentary from notable film maker Michael Winterbottom taking an in depth look at the growing disparity between the rich & the poor & how the financial institutions have dramatically contributed to the wealth of an elite few by nefarious methods, to the detriment of millions of others.

  • ★★★★ review by Geoffrey Young Haney on Letterboxd

    I may be bias because I find Brand incredibly likable, charming, and interesting. So take my four stars with a grain of salt.

    A simple, sentimental and accessible doc infused with Brand's personality. Overall engaging and informative, if not groundbreaking. Brand offers up no real NEW information to those of us who care to go out and find it (like myself) but it may be able to reach an audience of people not so self-informed.

    All in all, if Brand's pedigree can bring people who might not watch a doc like this to the table, then it's all good with me.

  • ★★★½ review by Ryan on Letterboxd

    Incredibly important if you live in the UK.

  • ★★★½ review by Jetmcfancy on Letterboxd

    It's difficult because I feel like your opinions on this documentary will often rely on which side of the argument you come down upon, as well as your general liking of Russell Brand as a personality. Admittedly, for me this was singing to the choir and I couldn't help but shake my head indignantly as the whole movie acts as a pretty bleak reminder of the reality for lots of poor people in the UK at the moment. I think it's an important movie to watch, and is worth your time at the very least.

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