No die-hard foodie would, in their right mind, argue any of the points made in Ana Sofia Joanes' impassioned, good-egg doc about healthy eating in an age when it's getting much harder to do so. That said, since the audience for Fresh is likely already in the know about the ghastly industrialization of agriculture, the film might be a cinematic redundancy. It's briskly edited and cleanly shot, but not quite as slick—or rather, not as easily digestible for the not-yet-converted—as the Oscar-nominated Food, Inc. (also featuring onscreen advice from The Omnivore's Dilemma author Michael Pollan). Damning evidence about high-fructose corn syrup isn't presented in as direct or relatable a manner as it is in King Corn, and Fresh is neither as ambitious in scope as The Corporation nor as specialized as The End of the Line. The non-talking-head footage is crisp, but the same shots of crop dusting and baby-chick tossing were more artful in Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread. So what's left? Another fine but hardly original call to arms about sustainable food and the dangers behind monocultures, cheap chow, standardization, etc. Fresh is a palatable lecture, but we've milked that cow one too many times already.
Organic farmer Joel Salatin also appeared in the recent Food, Inc.
Runs at Central Cinema, Fri., April 30–Thurs., May 6. Not rated. 77 minutes.