Our food is killing us, and Fed Up is determined to show you how
Slapping America’s political party lines, Fed Up is a grueling attack on pitiful food, those who create it, and those who allow it to happen. For its deluge of below-the-neck waistline shots patterned from cliché nighttime news and an allegiance to distributing blame too directly, Fed Up remains the tattle tale documentary that is unarguably needed. As a country, we not only need to wake up, but we should probably pay attention to what we eat once we do.
Director Stephanie Soechtig slices through advertising, piercing food in a three-prong attack following her bottled water expose Tapped and another corporate blast with her indirect involvement in GMO OMG. Clearly, someone hates our food, or rather those who produce it. Fed Up slims down to poke at politicians and leaders while igniting depressing stories about obese children. It’s emotional, if often selective.
Major corporations declined to be interviewed, although much of Fed Up’s pretense slants liberally: Blame the food, not the person. Argument selections are patterned on the, “It’s not your fault,” ideology while parading on-screen obesity in conjunction with their efforts, sans any portrayal of dietary decisions. Pieces feel missing, at least until Fed Up has concluded the rally cry against sugar.
Alarming statistics are inbound, including the stunning growth of diabetes in kids (from 0 in 1980 to 57,000 in 2012) and the rather groan-inducing investment of fast food chains in school lunches. This happened so quickly as to blindside much of the population. Fed Up’s numbers feel implausible given their absurdities. Shockingly, they check out.
Fed Up bursts with cases of public misdirection, and those sly comparisons to the overwhelming trends of tobacco use are inherently fair. The documentary is harsh – as if the smoking comparison failed to make that clear – and regularly slings words like “poison” to better force outrage.
Sugar becomes the core component for Fed Up’s lashing out, berating industry and slandering advertising for their questionably nutritious cereals. Decades after Jane Fonda worked us into a sweat, it appears all for naught: There’s profit in food, bad food especially. That money is being filtered under the guise of charitable school donations as a protective measure to capitalist values, ignoring the kids subjected to these products.
However, this documentary is too caring for the generation of “can’t do it” (or even “won’t do it”) ideology. Fed Up is terrified of the thought that parents lost control or the idea of personal responsibility may in fact have impact. While dancing numbers of potential future harm across the frame, tough inquiries are left in rooms with a handful of politicians. Indirect blame is clearly easier to accept than establishing dialog over a family’s dietary blindness.
Still, there are reasons to be justifiably alarmed. Fed Up has no reason to create ammunition because it has been provided through the course of food history’s non-progress. This situation has caused a striking failure, and those who choose to speak out have been blasted with currency to change their minds. And really, isn’t this the typical answer? When it doubt, follow the money.
Interview segments conducted for Fed Up appear fantastic, if occasionally hit with a touch of sharpening. Facial definition, in close or from afar, hold spectacular definition. Lighting set-ups were clearly focused to enhance the depth and shadowed look which powers most of these shots.
As expected, the doc spins into vintage footage, from classic cereal commercials to government meetings all shot on fading tape sources. News broadcasts from multiple eras look as they should given their age. Other modern footage is done via personal cameras, either smart phones or other commercial devices. End results are flushed with compression, which of course are no fault of the AVC encode.
However, some choices are obnoxious. While pulling what is clearly HD footage, Soechtig and company chose to add faux interlacing effects, replicating a jittery CRT TV. Given the context, it makes no sense. It’s used with such frequency as to be an unnecessary irritant. Again, these are no issues with the disc itself (Anchor Bay and Starz do just fine), but that does not make for something pleasant.
Color and contrast meet natrual expectations, proving suitable for the material.
Not surprisingly, there is little for the DTS-HD mix to rush toward in terms of audio spacing. After an introduction which spins news reports in each channel, Fed Up will have minimal work left to do. A few moments of song accompaniment notwithstanding, this piece is entirely pushed into the center. What else could there be in terms of expectations?
Some envelopment in school cafeteria environments would be preferable, although that comes through as a pithy complaint given the nature of Fed Up. Productions like this effectively invalidate the critique of audio.
A series of five deleted scenes (12:46 total) reveal some curious cuts, including a look into the pantry as a doctor lays out the reality of a participant’s dietary choices. Those also serve as the extent of the bonuses.
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.