Tagline: You'll never look at dinner the same way again.
Synopsis: You are what you eat. It is a simple expression that bears scary implications as you watch Food, Inc. Director Robert Kenner draws upon the searing reportage of authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) to explore how modern developments in food production pose grave risks to our health and environment. These writers aren't radicals or even vegetarians (Schlosser admits that his favourite meal is a hamburger and fries), but they are crusaders when it comes to exposing problems and naming offenders. Food, Inc. makes their critiques vivid by taking us into the lives of people who are fighting back. The documentary never resorts to stunts to make its point – just solid journalism, including hidden cameras that reveal unseemly practices. Food, Inc. cogently explains how unfettered corporations exploited laws and subsidies to create shocking monopolies. In one example, we learn how the food conglomerate Monsanto expanded its control over soybeans from two per cent of the American market to ninety per cent in the last dozen years. Monsanto has the legal muscle of a Supreme Court decision, enabling them to litigate aggressively against small farmers. The decision was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who happens to be a former Monsanto lawyer. [Synopsis courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.]
Round-up: Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly praises "Food, Inc.," saying director Robert Kenner "features and builds on the muckraking testimony of Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma... ) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) to create an essential, disturbing portrait of how the food we eat in America has become a deceptively prefab, even hazardous industrial product." Many reviewers noted but did not fault the extent to which Kenner used Pollan's and Schlosser's book for most of his anecdotes. To indieWIRE's Michael Rowin, "Food, Inc." "is important in scope if not discovery." Variety's John Anderson joins the chorus of critics who insist that the film is required for everyone who eats: ""Food, Inc." is a civilized horror movie for the socially conscious, the nutritionally curious and the hungry." Robert Sietsema of the Village Voice finds the film more pessimistic than it purports to be, saying "Despite occasional episodes of spiritual uplift, the film cultivates a feeling of paranoia as it progresses, so that none of the printed nostrums flashed over the final credits ("You can change the world with every bite") can dispel the notion that we and the earth are permanently and irretrievably fucked." David Edelstein's New York Magazine review begs, "See it. Bring your kids if you have them. Bring someone else’s kids if you don’t."