Chainsaw Cheerleader Reviews: Feed (2005)
Directed by: Brett Leonard
Written by: Kieran Galvin, Alex O’Loughlin, Patrick Thompson
Cast: Alex O’Loughlin, Patrick Thompson, Gabby Millgate, Jack Thompson, Rose Ashton
Genre: Horror, Psychological Thriller
Feed is a film that centers around the sexual fetish of fat eroticism known as feederism. This fetish consists of feeders and gainers. A feeder feeds a gainer who is often a woman who receives sexual pleasure from the gaining of weight and eating. The feeder seeks out obese women and derives some sexual enjoyment from the act of feeding them. It is in Feed that this sexual subculture is explored and details the life of a feeder who goes too far, often by feeding his gainers to death and publishing the details onto his very own website that members of the site pay to watch.
The director, Brett Leonard, takes on in Feed our obsession with beauty. While considering what is and isn’t beautiful in the eyes of our society, Leonard explores this fixation by delving into the internet . Leonard allows the viewer to see how the internet allows its users to engage in their most perverse desires. Feed is more than about feederism. It is about the aspect within us all that enjoys the ugliness and the grotesqueness of extreme situations.
Feed follows Phillip Jackson (Patrick Thompson) who is an Australian cyber crimes investigator. While policing the scum of the internet (largely porn and pedophiles), Jackson comes across a suspicious website dedicated to the sexual fetish known as feederism. After discovering that the last gainer disappeared after she weighed in at 600 pounds, Jackson becomes obsessed with proving to his superiors that there is something very wrong with the website. Tracking down the owner of the website, Michael Carter (Alex O’Loughlin), Jackson goes against the wishes of his superiors and travels to Ohio. This results in Jackson being fired but it does not stop him from trying to track down the troubled man behind the website. As Jackson struggles to find and confront this monster, he learns the truth behind his own desires. It is not long before Jackson is able to track down Carter and as a result of this Carter begins a sadistic game at Jackson’s expense.
The amazing thing about Feed, is that the ending of the film is unpredictable. Very rarely does a movie have the ability to do so. Leonard shifts effortlessly between Jackson and Carter. He shows the good side and the bad side of each man. By going back and forth between the different sides of the characters, the viewer is left to guess who really is the bad guy. A lot of credit should also be given to the writers of Feed’s script. Each character is very well-rounded. Jackson and Carter are both given scenes that show that they can be loving human beings. The only question is what are the motives behind this kindness and affection. While each character has a disturbingly detailed past, the actions they take based on those details are sound and help explain how far each of them is willing to go for their dark desires.
While Feed is edited wonderfully, it also has a score of upbeat music from the 1950’s and 1960’s. Songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Yummy Yummy Yummy” are played against some very bizarre scenes. For example, as the morbidly obese woman is confined to her bed her feeder dances around her on the bed singing along to “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” while completely nude. The feeder’s very muscular and fat free body bounces around a mountain of flesh that giggles in delight. It is moments in films like this that I love dearly. When out of place music is played against a violent or negative scene the music brings a certain beauty to it. For example, when there is a fight scene and classical music is played, the fighting is fought with a certain type of grace that can only be accomplished due to the music.
Leonard gave Feed a voyeuristic edge without making the film feel like it was shot with a documentary style. The viewer is up close and personal. We are thrown into the perversion and are still entertained. Feed has many scenes with nudity and what might be deemed by some as deviant sex. Some of these scenes consist of the feeder masturbating while he feeds the gainer a cheeseburger and violent sex between two consenting thin adults.
The topic and images of this film may make the viewer feel uncomfortable but the subject matter does stir ones morbid curiosity. While remaining fascinating from beginning to end, Feed had the ability to hold my interest for the entire length of the film. This is an ability that very few films have been able to achieve. Not once during Feed did I play on my laptop or pause it to do something else. This is indeed a rare feat.
Feed receives 4 pounds of flesh out of 5