Food, Inc. Movie Review
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, Food, Inc. provides a compelling look at the food industry and the consequences its actions have on American lifestyles. While the picture provides some insightful facts, it lacks the shooting gun to put it on the same plane as similar movies such as Super Size Me.
Food, Inc. is directed by Robert Kenner, who craftily blends storytelling, fact finding and interviews into a solid film. The picture focuses on how only two or three big companies control most of the food we eat, the absurdity of some of their patents (a farmer can get sued for using their seed, even if it just drifted into their field on the wind) and the implications all of this has on us. He also investigates the E. coli breakout in the 1990's, among other things.
The documentary's goal is simple: show that the way we eat food is seriously messed up. It accomplishes that. Kenner presents several "I didn't know that" facts that are worthy of further investigation, and that's all a filmmaker can really aspire to.
Well, that's not all. A strong documentary also needs to be memorable, and that's where Food, Inc. falters. It tells a good story, but not in a way that is going to have a lasting impression. Food, Inc. is just one of many movies and books over the last 100 years that have attempted to educate Americans on what they're eating. Super-Size Me had a gross-out factor, one that essentially got me off fast food (and I am not one easily swayed or disgusted). Fast Food Nation wasn't a great movie, but it had its disturbing moments. Chapters from Sinclair's "The Jungle" still linger in my memory. Food, Inc., meanwhile, looks less at the actual food and more at the business side of things, which is great, except when you ask this question: Does anyone care? And by that, does anyone care enough about what is shown in the movie to make a difference? For most people, the answer is no.
Food, Inc. is a well made movie that presents important information, but it lacks the edge to slice through the thick, fat-laden skin of the American consumer.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.