Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Home Video: Food, Inc.

Food, Inc.
Directed by Robert Kenner
Released June 12, 2009

Making a solid documentary film requires more than just a colorful, flashy PowerPoint presentation. Al Gore clicked his mouse excitedly and awed the world with his global warming movie, “An Inconvenient Truth,” but wasn’t able to construct a movie able to stand on its own as a movie. The facts might, but their assemblage wasn’t nearly as impressive. The latest Big Documentary of the Year doesn’t point cameras in people’s faces and have them turned away violently or ignored like a certain boisterous Flint, Michigan native does, but it still has a sense of being a timely, gravely important exposé.

“Food, Inc” begins its examination of the food industry with an ultra-serious look at just how bad things have become. There are obviously both purposefully and unintentionally funny moments in the documentary, but the theme is one of full and extensive probing, determined to get to the heart of the matter and uncover the truth. It’s a strong and important film because it charges its audience to get up and doing something with their newfound knowledge. In a society where the economy continues to spiral downwards and people keep getting fatter, it’s an utterly relevant and crucial film that doesn’t fail in any of its efforts to educate and motivate its viewers to action.

As a documentary film, “Food, Inc.” is very well assembled and impressively put together. The selection of interview subjects and sound bites is stellar, and the investigation doesn’t falter when it comes up against a brick wall. If someone declines an interview, the film declares it unabashedly and creates an even more biting critique of those who denied the filmmakers access to their operations. By far the most spectacular feature of the film is that it doesn’t fabricate scenarios and utilize cheesy or forced personal stories to muster its strength. Only the most hard-hitting stories that can stand for themselves are chosen, and that makes the film terrific. The haunting and foreboding musical score is also a huge asset for the film. This may not be an appealing film, but it’s certainly an important and impressive film.


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