Today, society in much of the First World is more polarised than it has been at any time since the World War I. Indeed, as the introduction in The Divide points out, inequality in the US and UK is at its highest levels since 1928. The remarkable thing about all this is that most people seem to not know or care about it. Despite minority protests such as the Occupy movements there seems to be a pall of apathy hanging over the inhabitants of the Western world.
It’s a subject that has been covered widely in documentaries, especially since the financial crisis in 2008 spawned by the collapse of the banking sector. However, Katharine Round approaches the subject from a slightly different angle; focussing on 7 different people from both sides of the Atlantic. She lets them tell their stories in their own words, investigating the impact of relative poverty and the struggle for social mobility through human stories.
Whilst there’s nothing new or surprising about the contents of The Divide, but it’s a very human documentary about the disparity between those people struggling to make ends meet and those struggling to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. The sad fact is that many middle class Americans base success on being able to live in gated white communities with good facilities, schools and security ahead of their children’s happiness or any form of cultural diversity. There’s absolutely no reason why the UK won’t eventually follow suit. The Divide is an understated, yet powerful, study on inequality and poverty on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Divide is in cinemas from 22 April and nationwide on 31st May