By Lois Kennedy
Director: Brett Leonard
Cast: Patrick Thompson, Alex O’Loughlin, Gabby Millgate
Phillip is a detective whose passion for his job exceeds his common sense. Against his superior’s wishes, he flies from Australia to America to hunt for Michael, a serial killer whose modus operandi is to purposely feed a woman—in this case Deirdre, but there were others before her—so that she becomes so obese that she can’t move and then dies from health complications of such. The movie is “based on actual behaviours” between a “feeder” and a “gainer” who both get off sexually on obesity and eating—and their online audience. Unfortunately, Michael doesn’t really love his gainer and is taking bets on when she’ll die. Phillip, using all the cybercrime fighting skills 2005 affords him, must track him down and end his killing spree.
The film separates itself a bit from typical serial killer cat-and-mouse movies by having Phillip and Michael meet in the middle of the movie. The tension comes not from finding Michael but by finding him and being unable to legally stop him because Phillip is out of his jurisdiction and feeding fat chicks to death is only sort of a crime because Deirdre is really into it. Also a little different is that the movie was made in Australia with a cast of principally Australian actors, despite much of the movie taking place in America. The “Americans” are convincing most of the time, but occasionally they say things like “bloody” or “moved house” instead of just “moved”. It’s a little jarring, but it makes the movie more endearing to me.
The characters are interesting. Phillip is actually not that great of a cop. Michael easily wards him off and intimidates him physically in one scene and beats the crap out of him in another. Michael is also able to drug him just by bringing him coffee. Phillip, despite being the protagonist, also kills two innocent people for seemingly no reason and hits his girlfriend while reacting to a childhood trauma and straight-up tortures another character. Michael, the villain, is charming and good-looking and just a whole lot smarter than Phillip (and let’s face it, he’s seriously dreamy).
But they’re often juxtaposed and equated with each other. Sex scenes of Phillip and his girlfriend Abbey are crosscut and split-screened with scenes of Michael and Deirdre doing their food stuff. They both have nightmarish childhoods dictating their presents; Phillip has trouble with intimacy because he saw his mother blowing a stranger, and Michael was forced to care for a bedridden obese mother whom he eventually smothered with a pillow.
Consumption and eating is a major image system, as can be deduced from the title; there’s the religious act of communion and food equated as love and food equated as power. I did really enjoy the movie—check it out if you’re in the mood for something disturbing and creepy and thought-provoking. PS if you watch the trailer, don’t be put off by how low-budget it looks–the movie itself has much better resolution.