Battle for Brooklyn - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Battle for Brooklyn Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 9, 2015
Although we follow the point of view of those who oppose a development which arguably would provide new opportunities for Brooklyn residents, the viewer remains on the fence as the debate unfolds as to what is best for a community. It also shines a light on the mega project which is such a popular way to spur economic development but which can often have results that are significantly less than anticipated.
½ November 3, 2013
An interesting if not original doc focusing on a david vs goliath story of a Brooklyn resident stirring the community and getting together with various activists in new york to help battle the unjust potential evictions of several hundred families for the impending arrival of the Brooklyn Nets new arena and supposed new infrastructure supposedly promising hundreds of new jobs and transit and the like. Filmed over just short of a decade from the plans initial announcement through to ground break, the film gets most intriguing with the development of the market crash and the adjustments/scalling back of the scale of the project, creating that sense that maybe their is enough chinks in the armour to make something of a difference. If the audience knows the outcome after the fact (film came out in 2011 so obviously the stadium is now open and complete) it adds a small sense of inevitability to the proceedings but still reaffirms the scariness of big business having no regards for the little guy. Might have been a touch better if the one family wasnt a central focus and spread it out to a few more families but otherwise interesting.
December 26, 2012
Probably the best doc I saw this year. The producers followed this story for over 8 years and it is a testiment to their perseverance that they stuck around and kept filming until the end. While it is a political documentary with a clear point of view, I would bet that my conservative and liberal friends could watch this film and come away with the same sense of outrage. Definitely recommended if you are at all interested in eminent domain issues.
October 19, 2012
Big businessman vs small man. Guess who wins? Big businessman. Funny thing is, my boss is the sister to the big businessman.

The whole premise is that there is a great opportunity for the community of Brooklyn to benefit from. But this man and a bar refused to move for it, even though the business was willing to give you a significant compensation to make sure that you were well taken care of. So much so that those involved were willing to sign a gag order and not talk about it anymore. The man even in the end settled with them, but never told us what he got that allowed him to move into a new apt.

Should people be demonized because they have the means to do things like that? Have enough money to legitimately buy and build things? Yes they should, that is what capitalism is about. It almost went too far though with the unjust movement of circumventing some city officials.
April 10, 2012
Fascinating documentary about a huge development coming to Brooklyn in which the government and real estate developers seemingly conspire against a few holdout homeowners and businesses with the aid of astroturf community organizations and eminent domain laws which give the state the right to basically take property away from people and give it to someone else to build on. Itā(TM)s fascinating and heartbreaking to watch the graphic designer who lives in the footprint of the proposed stadium/shopping/housing complex as heā(TM)s worn down over the roughly 6 years it takes between announcing the project and the beginning of its construction. The maneuverings of the developers mostly happen off camera but the portrait of the neighborhood in the crosshairs of urban renewal is very moving indeed.
December 8, 2011
With 8 years and 500 hours of footage, it makes sense why a documentary like this can turn out to be so unfocused. Its more concerned with capturing what happened instead of telling a story. Unfiltered and raw look at how a community attempts to rally against crony capitalism at the expense of tearing down their homes.
November 12, 2011
A well-told story of a really potent political issue - the invocation of eminent domain where public subsidies are used to enrich developers (also including a stadium, real Dave Zirin territory here). The documentary stretches over many years, optimistic promises, the economic crash and the subsequent stand-still in construction, the non-existence of promised jobs and fare hikes due to the developer paying only 20% he promised the MAT. It's an I-told-you-so sort of loss, but one that's well documented and because it followed the entire process, showed that yes the pastor (who lives in New Jersey) and the self-styled grassroots representative of Brooklynites were both paid off by the developer, that the jobs never do appear and that Jay-Z may be on the developer's side but Rosie Perez, Steve Buscemi and John Turtorro are on the side of those fighting it, which is a good and kickass place to be.
August 28, 2011
has anyone seen this Film..maybe we can c it for movie night...i want to point out the section where it states the Brooklyn president (we know who that is) was involved...What a surprise!!!! I want to send out an open call..Its time for another expose, a powerful voice against corruption. This is a reflection of the entire country and effects us all!!!
July 7, 2011
It is so ridiculous; that area is a slum. No sane person would consider that area a "community" in any sense of the word. Unless you consider whinos, prostitutes and drug dealers to be community organizers. I am a libertarian but eminent domain does serve legitimate goals.
June 28, 2011
This is a fascinating documentary that shows how a politically well connected real estate developer was able to override significant neighborhood opposition in order to gain control of a large parcel of land in downtown brooklyn in order to construct what would have been one of the largest residential and commercial construction projects in history.

Efforts by local community groups to scale back the project, which involved a basketball arena for the Nets and 16 skyscrapers that would have towered over the adjacent four and five story residential buildings, were repeatedly ignored. While the developed did gain control of the land, the current recession appears to have torpedoed the project as originally envisioned. Promises of world class architecture, numerous jobs for local residents, affordable housing and public spaces are no longer mentioned. Nonetheless, the generous tax breaks awarded to the developer have not been reduced.

Anyone concerned about the abuse of power and the misuse of eminent domaine should see this film.
June 19, 2011
Shot over 8 years, this politically charged documentary is impressive less for its critique of urban development and more for how it shows developers manipulating the debate entirely -- by buying out residents, strong-arming politicians, and stage-managing public "support" for the Atlantic Yards project. A case study in neoliberalism and the slow death of the common good.
June 18, 2011
Battle For Brooklyn is a sweeping chronicle of the highly divisive Atlantic Yards plan and one man's unyielding refusal to conform under mounting pressure. Filmmakers Galinsky and Hawley chronicle the narrative spanning nearly a decade, as the strife over what's best for the Brooklyn community unfurls. With desirous politicians focused on exploiting the neighborhood's potential to become a basketball court for the Nets, resident Daniel Goldstein's interminable endeavor to protect the land, and the manifold positions assumed by residents and reformers alike, the film emerges like a Greek tragedy. Although this particular story is set in Brooklyn, NY, the central theme is germane to everyone, everywhere: when large amounts of money are on the table anything can be bought, including your home right out from under you. Goldstein is indefatigable as he grapples with both the dubious techniques invented to diminish the relevancy and even existence of the community and his neighbors who may have been lured in with assurances of a better world to come. As the ground is excavated around him, posited to become a basketball-mall-sky scraping-supercenter, he and his family lobby for an equitable outcome while his neighbors slip out of sight and celebrities surface to champion both sides of the dispute. Notably, those who live in the area are opposed to the project, while those who reside far away rally for the demolition. Also pertinent is the story of the media and its undemanding adoption of the prefabricated packages handed to them by developers, while the local voice went largely unheard and/or unpublished. Battle For Brooklyn is as enthralling a film as it is an imperative message which merits ninety-three minutes of the viewers time. Goldstein's plight speaks an exemplar lesson in the preservation of community and the valor of both truth and follow through.
June 17, 2011
This is a movie with sorrow and hope. This is a movie about how loyal Brooklyn residents defend their roots and memories. The continuous fight between gov/private sector interest groups and the local people built up the backbone of this extraordinary story. It is not just a movie for Brooklyn people, but a movie for everyone who has a past and future to cherish and protect. The metaphor of a newborn concluded the movie with tremendous hopes and encouragement. It is a loss of yours if you missed this epic. 10/10 stars.
June 9, 2011
This movie was an emotionally engaging documentary about the frustrations of corruption in government. I'm usually someone whose pro-big government, but this story was compelling enough to make me realize that there are some real problems with the system.
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