24 January 2010

food, inc.

i watched this film today. there's lots to love here: some amazing characters, lovingly shot (even the horrific images), expertly assembled and edited, plus i agree with a lot of the viewpoints of the filmmakers.


there are some missteps. Given the message and those bringing it to us, i guess i shouldn't be surprised the filmmakers' viewpoints are so obvious. i think they overdid it, and an example occurred near the end, in the segment called "the veil." Did they really have to put up the word "evil" first, then re-arrange the letters? So late in the film, i think even the most jaded of viewers will either be disgusted or have convinced themselves the filmmakers are grossly exaggerating. In either case, I don't think it serves any constructive purpose.

my other main complaint was, though they alluded to the health dangers to the public, they never really went after it. The best they did was make the case that, because it's cheaper to eat fast food than buy fresh produce and prepare your own meals, that's unhealthy. But what about establishing a link between consumers' health and the processes used by factory farms, such as GMO, contamination, lack of variety, and nutrient content?

I don't understand the inclusion of the poor Latino family who spends more on diabetes medicine than they do on food, apparently stopping at Burger King twice a day to feed the family. Sad? yes. Sympathetic? certainly. Supporting a point? Not so sure here. This family claims they eat this way because of the low cost of the fast food, but wouldn't it be more compelling to profile a middle-class family that has a choice, and still chooses to eat fast food? I think so.

And again, all that was illustrated here is that cheap fast food is: cheap. Big deal. I say make an effort to tie the factory farming practices to an epidemic of ill health, and you'll make a much bigger, and much more necessary, point.


JustJoeP said...

I share some of your critical perspective about the linguistic over-kill on-screen. But, I think they didn't go into the science because Americans, for the most part, are dull witted sheep who fall asleep when they hear poly-syllabics. They were catering to their audience.

I thought the latino family was a poignant example. They're in a terminal cycle that they cannot break. A middle class family that could make a choice.. well.. it would be like saying "look how stupid they are!" perhaps?

I concur, parts of it looked almost Michael-Moore-esque. But all-in-all, a very good film.

JustJoeP said...

THIS is why Food Inc included very little, to No science details: