Now, obviously, I agree with most of Food, Inc. And I think that it's certainly valuable and meritorious for the filmakers to continue our national conversation about food.
But, I also think that, frankly, so much has been written and filmed about this subject, and thus we can differentiate between This-Movie-Has-Educational-and-Important-Content-So-It-Must-Be-Good and This-Movie-Is-Actually-Good. And unfortunately, I think Food, Inc falls into the former category and not the latter.
Firstly, there was no narrative. The film sort of jumped around from subject to subject without any sort of cohesive thread that I could discern. And as The Boy (who really needs some sort of cute blog pseudonym ... any suggestions?) commented, "This movie really rests upon the backs of Crunchy Chickens."
By which he meant that the movie provided interesting visuals for people who had already read Omnivore's Dilemma or Fast Food Nation or Crunchy Chicken. But for those who had no prior information, the movie glossed over too much. As an example, The Boy noted that he had really enjoyed the section in The Omnivore's Dilemma in which Pollan explains Joe Salatin's farming technique and why it works. Without that background, the scenes on Polyface Farm just turn into Joe ... talking.
And speaking of things that were covered better in The Omnivore's Dilemma, let's talk about Food, Inc's rhapsodizing about organic food. Now I freely admit that I am, of recent, a slave to Whole Paycheck and Earthbound Farm. However, I really appreciated the way Pollan dealt with Industrial Organic, and the complexities and contradictions that lie therein.
I get that a movie may not be able to handle that complexity in quite that depth, but I figured some attempt would be made. And I certainly wasn't expecting the head of Stoneyfield to get to expound on how he was SAVING THE WORLD by getting his line of organic yogurt in Walmart ... I mean, again, I appreciate the lack of pesticides used, and I eat and enjoy Stoneyfield, but buying yogurt from a company owned by Groupe Danone isn't exactly a revolutionary act.
So overall, I think Food, Inc covers an interesting and important subject in a rather banal way. If you are interested in the American food industry, go read Omnivore's Dilemma or Fast Food Nation or watch King Corn instead.