Feed (2005)

Feed reviewStarring Rose Ashton, Marika Aubrey, Mary Beaufot, Yure Covich

Directed by Brett Leonard

Buried somewhere in here is a social conscience, but Super Size Me this ain’t! Is Feed a satire on consumerism, a condemnation of destructive fetishistic symbiosis, a black comedy, or a cautionary tale about obsessive relationships? Or is it a flat-out barf bag impetus whose moral ambiguity is meant to add the general sense of nausea?

Michael Carter is a warped guy who keeps seriously obese (600lbs plus) women in his dead mom’s house where he feeds them junk food and calorie-rich slop to their hearts desire. It’s a love thing apparently, the women lust after the food as much as the way Michael admonishes their weighty appeal with sexual favours. The twist is that he’s feeding them to death – there’s an online dead-pool linked to his “FattyX” webpage where browsers can put cash on when the fatliners will become flatliners.

Enter an Australian detective who is fresh off a German cannibalism case where the dinner willfully fed himself to the dining party. Aussie cop busted in on the gruesome in-process chow-down and hasn’t quite been right in the head since, yet somehow he feels morally obligated to travel half way around the world to put a stop to Michael Carter’s equally repugnant and deadly fetishism.

The personal motivation of this detective is puzzling. Why would a guy mentally distraught by this kind of stuff continue trying to save people from it? It’s not like director Leonard endears us to any of the victims, they’re presented as repellent, tantrum-prone nutjobs. Other questions arise too – why would Aussie detective travel to the USA to bust this guy where he has no jurisdiction to do a proper investigation? Who paid for this trip anyway?

The film moves along at a fair enough clip that you don’t have time to ponder these issues until it’s over. Alex O’Loughlin does a solid turn as the psycho, his calm and reasonable tone is almost too convincing at times. The gross-out factor is high in the blood, the nasty plot turns, and the excessive gluttony. The makeup FX, if that’s what it is, is particularly well done – I couldn’t tell if it was a prosthetic fat suit or a real large lady most of the time. And the last image of the film is unforgettably disturbing.

Visually Feed is a hodge-podge of over-transferred imagery, most scenes seem randomly pushed into a near-monochromatic feel. The only visual consistency is the inconsistency of everything. The editing is comparable to the current feel of movie trailers, lots of random cut-ins to closer views of characters mid-sentence, lots of jarring crash cuts and extreme close-ups of computer screens and seedy web content. Certain sequences of the film almost feel like extended trailers for the film itself, if that makes any sense. Perhaps this style was another jab at the easily distracted consumption obsessed world we live in.

This movie didn’t live up to its reputation as the nadir of cinematic excess – if you’ve seen Pink Flamingos you’ll be steeled for the tasteless and lurid content offered in Feed. Yet, it’s an undeniably unique addition to the psycho genre. It won’t appeal to everyone, but if you feel a rumbling in your stomach for something gross and different, it’s worth a look.

3 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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