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cast: Jack Thompson, Alex O'Loughlin, Gabby Millgate, Matthew Le Nevez, and Rose Ashton

director: Brett Leonard

97 minutes (18) 2005
widescreen ratio 16:9
Showbox DVD Region 2 retail
[released 29 May]

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by James Starkey
Feed is the kind of film that makes you want to take a shower after having watched it. This film is sleazy, compelling and ludicrous in equal measure with acting performances that range from the wooden to the accomplished. Jack Thompson plays Australian detective Philip Jackson, who heads up a team of officers in Sydney. Jackson and colleagues concern themselves in the detection of some of society's more bizarre crimes. These range from human cannibal-pacts to other voyeuristic sexual excesses.

Having solved one case, Jackson soon begins an investigation that will lead him to the US and into the slightly disturbing world of fat-fetishism. Convinced that he has unearthed a maniac's plot to feed his victims to death, Jackson becomes ever more obsessed in solving the case. At odds with his superiors, Jackson defies orders and flies to America where he follows the trail of a serial killer... with a difference.

Thompson's performance as the slightly unhinged detective is commendable but also inconsistent. His portrayal of Jackson as an obsessive-compulsive is interesting and entertaining. However, too many times it seemed that both the script and storyline were racing on ahead of him and he was left desperately trying to catch up.

Alex O'Loughlin is excellent as the resident lunatic Michael Carter. Without doubt he is the shining light in what is otherwise a rather murky set of acting performances. Many of the other actors appear disinterested and their characters lack depth. There are also structural problems with the script. Very little explanation is given to how or why Jackson begins the investigation into Carter's activities. Many of the gaps are filled later in the film but by this time things feel a bit disjointed.

The graphic portrayal of Jackson's relationship with his on/ off girlfriend is certainly something the film could have done without. There are numerous sex scenes between the two, which are frankly embarrassing and excessive rather than useful to the plot. Portraying such an important part of Jackson's personality and attitude towards others should have been dealt with in a far subtler manner. Instead, what is offered is a procession of unsavoury conversations and excruciating flashbacks.

Feed succeeds to a degree, in exploring society's attitude towards obesity as a growing problem. There are scenes included here that are not for the faint of stomach. The film is peppered with numerous close-up shots of wanton gluttony and excess. Ultimately it attempts to make a grand statement but simply leaves a slightly unsavoury taste in the mouth.

DVD extras are reassuringly weighty. They include deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, an interview with Jack Thompson, and an alternative ending. Much of the behind-the-scenes footage is disjointed with little in the way of real substance but the rest of the extras on offer are pretty informative and worth a look.

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