Food, Inc., by director Robert Kenner, made me feel stupid. It reminded me of every reason why I loved Our Daily Bread, of 2006. Our Daily Bread exercised subtly and restraint, with very still, bleak vignettes of the monstrous places that produce the food we eat around the world. It does this without commentary, just offering a view of what is. Food, Inc. practices neither restraint nor subtlety. Each segment of the film is broken into segments that are announced with a title. As if we couldn’t catch on that hey, now we’re going to learn about corn.
If you have every seen more than one PETA video, or thought about the fact that high fructose corn syrup is in most processed foods, then this film will basically be a refresher for you. I picked up a few good conversation starters, like, if a cow were allowed to graze on grass for (I don’t remember it exactly…) a whole bunch of E. Coli would be naturally eliminated from its gut. However, instead of letting cows graze, we prefer to wash the processed hamburger meat with chlorine, which also kills the virus. The breakdown of who owns what we eat was also interesting, as well as the fact that there are only three or four commercial slaughterhouses left in the entire United States.
The graphics were too cutesy and glossy for me as well. You would think a film that is focus on questioning how “natural” our food is would have more organic and basic feeling fonts and graphics, instead of super processed looking titles and animation. A lot of it felt very Disney-fied. Or maybe thats just me.
The “experts” were entertaining and knew what they were talking about. However, the selection was seriously limited. There was the bad corporation, the good farmer, the victimized small business owners, the granola hippie who went corporate, the sob story.
In general, the film was well researched, and would be great to show in an elementary or middle school. The issues are important and should definitely be given the space to be discussed. But, just a tip, if you doze off during the entire film, the directors conveniently end the film with a few minutes of bullet points of what you should have picked up during the course of the film. To summarize: buy locally, buy organically, eat seasonally, and try not to get E.Coli.