Saturday 19 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Documentary 'Food, Inc.' pulls...

Documentary 'Food, Inc.' pulls back veil on food industry

Phil Bacharach August 27th, 2009

The documentary "Food, Inc." begins, appropriately enough, in a grocery store, its brightly lit and vaguely antiseptic aisles stocked with name-brand cereals, soups and salad dressings. The expa...


The documentary "Food, Inc." begins, appropriately enough, in a grocery store, its brightly lit and vaguely antiseptic aisles stocked with name-brand cereals, soups and salad dressings. The expanse of labels boasts illustrations of inviting red barns, rolling hills of green grass, smiling farmers.

It's a familiar and comforting image, but one that the filmmakers suggest is part of a carefully constructed pastoral fantasy. "The industry doesn't want you to know the truth about what you're eating," says an unidentified voice-over, "because if you knew, you might not want to eat it."

That's an understatement. "Food Inc.," which screens Thursday through Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, flings back the curtain on the food industry and shines a floodlight on an arena that the filmmakers contend endangers our health, environment, economy and moral fabric. Director Robert Kenner makes a convincing case. Relying on interviews with two talking heads who know their stuff " Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation," and Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" " the documentary is a blistering overview of some deeply troubling practices.

Its revelations about the world of meatpacking are particularly bleak. "Food, Inc." examines how the assembly line mechanics of fast food transformed how we produce and receive what we eat. Chickens are raised and slaughtered in half the time they were 50 years ago, and they're now twice as big. They have larger breasts to accommodate appetites for white meat. Packed into overcrowded, windowless chicken houses, most of the birds are too fat even to walk.

More alarming, the film suggests that ever-increasing outbreaks of E. coli bacteria can be traced back to how beef packers " four of which are responsible for more than 80 percent of the market " now raise cattle. Instead of grass, the feed of choice is corn, which fattens the animals quicker, but is not easily digested. The result is a particularly nefarious strain of E. coli.

In one of the doc's more heart-wrenching moments, we see home movies of Kevin Kowalcyk, a 2-year-old Pennsylvania boy who died 12 days after eating a burger contaminated with E. coli. His mother now lobbies for legislation to let the U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down plants that repeatedly churn out bad meat. But the measure has gone nowhere, and "Food, Inc." notes that many food regulators in the Clinton and Bush administrations came from the very industry they were supposed to oversee.

There is much more. From the cynical use of illegal immigrant labor to Monsanto's jaw-dropping enforcement of its soybean patent, "Food, Inc." crams in enough material for a handful of documentaries.

Kenner's viewpoint is never in doubt, but the film doesn't suffer the shrillness or sanctimony that dogs the advocacy documentaries of Michael Moore and his imitators. Moreover, it should be noted that "Food, Inc." finds reason for optimism, as in the rising popularity of organic farming.

It makes for disturbing, but indispensable viewing. Some images " scores of chicks tumbling down an assembly line, undercover footage of the "kill floor" of a beef-packing plant " are bound to stay with the viewer long afterward. Whether any of it proves to be enough food for thought remains to be seen. "Phil Bacharach

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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