Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2008. Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media, River Road Entertainment. Screenplay by Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein, Kim Roberts. Cinematography by Richard Pearce. Produced by Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein. Music by Mark Adler. Production Design by David Courtemarche. Film Editing by Kim Roberts. Academy Awards 2008. Gotham Awards 2009. Toronto International Film Festival 2008.
Images of cows standing in their own manure, beakless chickens in massive barns or immense fields of genetically engineered vegetable crops will have you never wanting to eat again after you see this hard-hitting documentary. It takes apart the mythical image of quaint country farming that is jingoistically invoked on the labels of most grocery store food and examines the production habits of American food corporations. There’s no criticism in this film that will come as much of a surprise to anyone who has seen The Corporation, Super Size Me or seen or read Fast Food Nation (whose author, Eric Schlosser, provides talking head information here), but the vivid imagery takes much of the information from those other films and really makes them hit home. Director Robert Kenner details a nation whose food industries have gotten so powerful that a food advocate is unable to talk about her life following the death of her son to E. coli poisoning without risking incurring a libel lawsuit from one of her enemy corporations. It is also notable for not being a doomsday warning but for offering stories of positive situations, such as an organic farmer in California, as well as ending with suggestions (much like An Inconvenient Truth) of what you as an individual consumer can do to improve the situation. Riveting.