What happens when the rich get richer? You’d hope that everyone gets a slice. But as you’ll learn in The Divide, the game is rigged and quite the opposite seems to take place, time and time again.
Based on bestselling book The Spirit Level, a book studying systemic inequality, that was released back in 2009. Focusing on a few regular folks here in the UK and in the US, The Divide shows us the devastating impact that the greedy, relentless pursuit of wealth has on our communities. All of our communities.
Even Wall St. psychologist Alden, who works out of a room the size of a janitor’s closet, is struggling to climb out of his socially designated wealth band and up into the 1%. Working every hour of daylight that he can, Alden works with Wall street’s
dirtiest finest financiers, helping them deal with the pain of making (and losing) more money than one can a regular calculator can display on a single screen. Alden’s wife and kids barely see him, but he and his wife have accepted the sacrifice to maintain their pursuit of material wealth and lifestyle that comes with it.
Of the seven Characters, we were perhaps most emotionally moved by single mum Leah, who works at KFC by day and spends nights staring through her blinds or fixed to cable TV, afraid to leave her home after dark. Widowed Leah makes just enough to comfort herself with beer, cigarettes and ice cream, but in between the moving lows, Leah still offers some wonderful moments of comic relief in this ultimately tragic doc.
On this side of the pond, we have our fair share of crap too. Take care worker, Rochelle from Newcastle, who works on a zero hours contract for example. Rochelle rushes around, hopping from patient to patient and doing her best to make their lives happier, easier. But all the while, she’s anxious, hoping that none of them dies – not just because that would be sad in itself, but because it would also mean she would lose work. Work she desperately needs.
The book that this film is based on essentially argued that our so-called capitalist society and the income inequality that fuels it is the root of all societal ills, from violence and substance abuse, to disease and depression. Director Katherine Round makes The Spirit Level’s central point with some incredibly compelling characters and provides an unforgiving and unflattering look at the shit show we’ve allowed ourselves to be subject to.
This is a film that is simply a must see. We regularly turn a blind eye to the crap that’s around us, but it’s high time we started to pay attention and stopped forgetting when our leaders – financial and political – screw us; the people. The Divide is arguably the most culturally relevant and important film of the decade.
The Divide is in select cinemas from 22 April and nationwide on 31st May for info, head to: http://thedividedocumentary.com.