Monday, November 2, 2009

It's 10 pm. Do You Know Where Your Food Is? FOOD, INC.

Director Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc. is a commercial documentary that has absorbed the lessons of popular, and populist, docs from the past decade or so, utilizing only their best techniques. Drawing especially from An Inconvenient Truth (without the PowerPoint) and Michael Moore’s work (without the stunts), the movie alternates talking heads with damning footage to build a case against our modern agricultural system which uses all kinds of corporate skullduggery to make ever greater amounts of money off of increasingly unhealthy and unsafe products. I won’t argue with the message; this is another case of a documentary preaching to a choir member. The movie is effective and scary, at times, but ultimately there’s a sense of impersonal gloss over the whole production that proves distancing, as well as a sense that the argument is old news, especially if, like me, you’ve read any of the important food-related journalism of Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) or Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma). Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with being reminded of important facts and, since no one can know everything, there were some examples given in the film of which I had been previously unaware. Maybe you haven’t heard any of this before? In that case, Food, Inc. will be a real eye-opener.

Food, Inc. is on Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, November 3.

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