Monday, September 27, 2004

Film Review (Super Size Me)

Super Size Me

Thirty seven per cent of young Americans and two-thirds of all American adults are either overweight or obese. Upon discovering this, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock decides to find out why. While interviewing experts in twenty U.S. cities, including Houston, Texas ‘The Fattest City in America’, Spurlock sets himself the task of eating his three main meals at Mc Donald’s, every day, for a whole month. He declares that he can only eat what is available over the counter, that he only has to super-size his meal when offered, and that he has to eat every item on the menu at least once.

Along the way, a team of doctors and a nutritionist follow his progress, their concern mounting along with Spurlock’s cholesterol. It is brought to our attention early on in the documentary, that there a four McDonalds restaurants per square mile in Manhattan alone and that one and a half billion dollars is spent annually on advertising. We are also informed that Mc Donald’s Chiefs refer to their customers as either heavy users or light users, not unlike the terms used to classify heroin addicts. Spurlock forwards the case for food addiction by highlighting, what he believes, is the pushing of an addictive substance upon children, with the availability of ‘Happy’ meals, Ronald Mc Donald, and in-house party areas landing a lethal propagandist blow to their young minds. All the while, Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Pusher-man’ plays on the soundtrack.

The result is disastrous. He gains over twenty five pounds in three weeks, eating around five thousand calories a day (compared to the recommended two thousand). He damages his liver to the point of seriously endangering his health. He also complains about chest pains, depression, headaches, sugar/caffeine crashes, and heart palpitations at various stages throughout the month. The film also explores the state of the school lunch programme, the decline in P.E. class, and the extreme measures people take to lose weight and regain their health.

4 out of 5