What a wasted opportunity.

I got sent a preview disc of Food, Inc. this week. The latest offering from the people behind The End of the Line went on general release in cinemas yesterday and I was keen to get an advance peak.

I wish I hadn't bothered. Never has a one-and-a-half-hour film dragged so much - I felt as though I was watching Heaven's Gate!

An expansion of Eric Schlosser's indictment of the US food industry (the Fast Food Nation author featured prominently), Food, Inc. sets out its stall to galvanise the 'Hungry for Change' among us into action. You'd have expected a sense of urgency from a film with a campaigning agenda. But no.

Like Heaven's Gate, Food, Inc. has an elegiac feel, which at times is fitting. It is genuinely moving when Barbara describes the death, from an e-coli tainted burger, of her two-and-a half-year old son Kevin. And when farmer after farmer, filmed in their fields or with their livestock, talks despairingly about their attempts - usually unsuccessful - to stand up to evil multinational corporations accused of debasing the food industry.

But the film's melancholic tone, plodding pace and over-simplistic argument (surely they could have managed something more sophisticated than big business is bad), put me in mind more often of one of those dull educational films you were subjected to at school, rather defeating the whole object.

Which in the end it turned out was to: get us or more accurately Americans to buy from companies that treat workers, animals and the environment with respect; tell Congress to enforce food safety standards; and, gulp, "if you say grace, ask for food that will keep us and the planet healthy".

And this brings me to the main problem with Food, Inc. (apart from the annoying punctuation). It signs off with Bruce Springsteen singing "This land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island".

Great song, noble sentiment. Problem is, America isn't my land and while it is easy to empathise with the plight of the farmers in the film, this is a film made by Americans, for Americans, and not anywhere near as relevant as it could have been to me.

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