Friday, 12 September 2014

REVIEW - FED UP (STEPHANIE SOECHTIG)


Stephanie Soechtig's Fed Up warns us to beware the hazards in thinking that eating more 'healthily' and exercising more regularly will help us to lose weight. It also fails to provide an alternative, though its well-funded reach constructs a clear and compelling guide to leading a healthier lifestyle. More specifically, it turns the first world adage that prevention is better than cure on itself - a responsible strategy in the short-term, a pessimistic one in the long-term. Soechtig seems to express resignation to the idea that obesity is an epidemic of which we will never be rid; Fed Up's glossy, over-produced tone and aesthetic do a distressingly effective job at deflecting from such negativity, ditto the lack of regard to non-US nations. It's here that the movie's purpose as polemic is most pointed: Fed Up is designed to change the minds and the attitudes of Americans alone, which is a noble purpose before one reaches the word 'alone'. Perhaps a more dedicated focus on the hideousness of the first world's greed set against the third world's despair wouldn't have fulfilled said purpose, but it might have made for a more potent film. As propaganda, it's a strong piece of work, though, albeit one that proposes political solutions to problems engendered by the machinations of modern-day politics. The film's radical spirit is M.I.A., but what it lacks in integrity it makes up for in accuracy. The supposedly shocking list of parties who declined interview that appears at Fed Up's close is impressively brief - the involvement of Katie Couric and the Weinsteins seems to have opened up lucrative avenues for sophomore director Soechtig. And she at least raises a number of pressing points, primed to be picked up on by attentive viewers; those who may find those points old news may be impressed by the film's convincing arsenal of horrifying facts and figures. Fed Up's point in general may be garbled, or it may be just off-target, but there's enough material of genuine heft in here to make it vital viewing for anyone concerned about obesity today.