Much in the way that Al Gore's speech in An Inconvenient Truth was refined for years to have an optimal impact on its audience, Kenner's film is designed to be just scary enough to leave you motivated rather than dejected. In service of this goal, the film becomes too bound by its message: the free-range farmer Food, Inc. cites as an example of a sensible, sustainably-run farm seems irascible and exciting at first, until he begins rattling off Pollanesque talking points for minutes on end; a visit to a poor family who, due to budget constraints and hectic work schedules, frequently eat fast food rather than home-cooked meals adds nothing to the film but to put a "human face" on the problem. After an overlong, pre-closing credits sequence of catchy slogans and suggestions of how to be a more responsible eater (set to a bland populist folk song), Food, Inc. may leave you feeling like you've just eaten a flavorless meal you didn't really enjoy just because it's good for you.
Christopher Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOOD, INC. |directed by Robert Kenner | released by Participant Media | 94 minutes | screening at SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St, Portland | May 9 @ 7:30 pm | followed by Q&A with MOFGA executive director Russell Libby | $8 | space538.org
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