Thursday, October 7, 2010

Film review - Feed (2005)

Directed by Brett Leonard, starring Alex O'Laughlin (who assisted with the story) as Michael Carter and Patrick Thompson as Phillip Jackson.

Phillip Jackson works in a cybercrime unit, and was last involved in an arrest in which one man paid another for a strange sex act: the willing victim was to be eaten alive.

This film, obviously, has something to say about the human condition, for good or ill. At its' beginning, then, the underlying premise is established: this entire film will deal with the seductive nature of evil and how it slowly destroys more than flesh but soul.

The body of the film, the real story, begins when Jackson discovers a website that endorses the sexual/erotic act of eating, and a woman, gigantic in girth, is fed to death. The man doing the feeding is our villain, Michael Carter.

While the majority of the film focuses on the tracking of the villain by the hero, it is the villain here that is the most important aspect. Similar then to 8MM, there is a sense of the journey into the abyss, the journey not taken by the outsider but by the man who so chose his own destination.

It is most interesting to note that hero and villain meet more than once and have ample time to react to one another. The hero, the force for Good, is not ineffectual but often stymied by his own passion for justice, and his back story suggests that very passion has caused more than a little consternation form his superiors. Good is shown as persistent, but a matter of preference, differing notions of Good (in that Good is that which should be done) interfere with one another.

In the course of film history, the nature of evil is usually shown in some form of violence and in the last few decades that evil is superhuman. What should be a fatal blow or GSW merely annoys the villain. There is much running and screaming and flailing about (what this author thinks of as "normal response" to such external stimuli). Evil here is shown as a form of seduction, the gradual assistance of the victim to their own demise, one step at a time. The villain is a con man, unrelenting, unflinching and cold-hearted and cruel. He knows who he is and what he is, and he is quite okay with that. Evil is calculating, patient and consistent. Little in this film is done by force: the victims are shown as willing, walking into their own grave and happy for the choice to do so. The villain leads, and the victim follows.

From the very opening of the film: this opening, about characters that never again appear in the story, as stated above, is the touchpoint. While disturbing and often disgusting, it is an extremely moral tale. There is much here in this film that is unworthy of attention, to be sure. This author prefers the low budget end of filmmaking, as it requires the creators to be more resourceful, but that does not forgive sloppy technical errors. A lower budget generally means the high dollar acting talent won't be seen, and there are more than a few eye-rolling moments here.

Not for all audiences, but definitely worth notice. Not many mainstream films are so possessed of such a strong moral worldview.