I’m gonna start this post with a “compliment sandwich.” It’s the thing where you sandwich your negativity between two pieces of positivity. Okay, so… This is a very well made movie; the story is engaging, the cinematography is on point, and I cannot say that this movie is bad. Next up, this is one of the most uncomfortable movies I have ever sat through, and watching it with other people is a recipe for awkward silence. And to wrap it up, the soundtrack is banging!
In real life there is a man named Armin Meiwes, but he’s probably better known as the Rotenburg Cannibal. He wanted to eat someone, and a guy he met online wanted to be eaten; match made in heaven. And Meiwes did indeed eat and kill the dude, in that order. If this sounds familiar to my regular readers, yes, it was the inspiration for Diary of a Cannibal. Why bring this up? Well, Feed opens with a scene directly reminiscent of this, and I’ll come back to it later.
Feed is about an Australian internet cop who is hunting an American man who is feeding women into immobility, and then to death. Technically the “to death” part is a spoiler, but the trailer included the reveal, so fuck it, I guess. Anyway, it’s a game of cat and mouse between the cop and this sociopath, with the feeder generally one step ahead. As a crime thriller it’s very good in a very, VERY morally gray sort of way. See, the cop has no jurisdiction in America; he’s gone rogue hunting down a killer, and along the way makes worse and worse decisions all in the name of “justice.”
The themes of the movie, as I see them, are the limits of consent and control. The 600+ pound woman wanted this, enjoyed this, and wanted to be even bigger. Did she consent to being fed until she died? Not exactly, but what other endgame is there? Early on the cop and his partner discuss who’s in control in a feeder/feedee situation like this: the feedee has the feeder doting on them, but the feeder is the one really calling all the shots.
And how do you charge something like this? Beyond the murder and cannibalism, I mean. It’s a crime to starve someone, the movie posits, but is it a crime to feed someone? Back to Armin Meiwes, cannibalism was technically not illegal in Germany at the time of his arrest. His victim had agreed to be eaten, so wasn’t it consensual? After being convicted of manslaughter, Germany decided that wasn’t enough and retried Meiwes for murder, and now he serves a life sentence with no possibility of parole. For both the killer in Feed and the Rotenburg Cannibal, a desire for greater punishment demanded going further, all in the name of “justice.”
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