The Divide is an important and revealing documentary looking at the gap between the rich and poor in both the USA and UK. After a slew of various films and documentaries over the last few years looking at the recession, the economy and the politics around it all, nothing has felt as personal or immediate as The Divide. Looking at several people’s own stories from both sides of the Atlantic, The Divide promises to do more then preach but instead digs deep to illustrate the ludicrous relationship we have to money in the Western world.
Including the stories of the psychologist who wants to make it to the top 1%, the family who live in the gated community but are ignored by their neighbours because they clearly aren’t one of them, the KFC worker who just wants to make it through another day, the Walmart employee who lost everything in her life when the big boys came and closed down her independent video shop, the British care worker who has a family to look after but a government uninterested in her line of work and the guy who is destined to live a life of booze and illness just because he was born in a certain area.
Inspired by The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, an influential book that looked at societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor and how this affects everyone living in that society and how almost everything in a life is affected by the equality of the society rather than one’s own individual wealth. This is what makes The Divide stand out as something unique and discernible from all the other noise around the topic; rather than discussing everyone’s individual money, it’s much more interested in why there is a lack on equality within the economics of these societies.
Steadily paced, jumping between the stories of those that the film follows (looking at various elements of their own personal stories) and illustrated with archive footage from the 70’s until the present day, The Divide spends some time looking to the leaders of these countries and how much government has had to do with today’s current crisis. But the director, Katharine Round, also spends time looking at how this inequality has affected the world at large – the films looks at violence in the areas these people live, their health and the care they have and can afford, the housing situation and what the future looks to hold.
At times unsettling, but always on point, The Divide is a clear and bold documentary, which is urgent and deserves to be seen widely.
THE DIVIDE is in cinemas from 22 April and nationwide on 31 May, http://thedividedocumentary.com