Monday, January 18, 2010

Review - Food, Inc.

Robert Kenner's Food, Inc. has the look and feel of an investigative documentary, but is really more of an observational exercise, relying solely on testimony of various individuals with strong opinions against the industrial food system. This isn't a particular problem, but the bluntness of the film's position becomes quickly apparent. It's not that the way our food is processed and treated isn't a worthy topic, but it's one that's already had a fair deal of exposure, thus the film seems to present facts that we already suspected, if not knew.

Kenner wins some points for a couple of brief hidden camera sequences to give us a glimpse inside “authorized personnel only”, but that's really as inquiring as the movie gets. Interviews with ground-level farmers and consumers may be honest (some of them sound kinda paranoid), but it doesn't provide enough detail to clearly make its point about the legal and economical implications. The film is broken up into subtopics which has the benefit of neat-and-tidiness, but unfortunately keeps any momentum from building.

It is a finely edited piece, but much of the photography is too contrived. It seems that whenever they needed some filler, they'd just cut to sweeping aerial shots of farmland or slow probing shots of a grocery store.

It's still a decent doc, and it'll likely get an Oscar nomination. It shouldn't win against The Cove, but it could draw away votes, making it a tighter race.

**1/2 out of ****

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