Photo: "Consumed" Promotional Picture
“Consumed” is an environmentally-themed movie featuring Zoe Lister-Jones as a single midwestern mom, waitress and student who discovers that genetically modified organisms are making her son sick.
The low budget indie film opens with a close up of Hollywood’s veteran activist/actor, Danny Glover as an organic farmer whose crops are being invaded by the fictitious corporate agro-giant Clonestra. It’s clear that co-writer/director Daryl Wein and co-writer Lister-Jones have biotech behemoths such as Monsanto in mind.
Longtime actor Victor Garber plays Clonestra’s top banana and apparently benign public face. He gallivants around the globe ballyhooing GMO seeds as a boon for humanity that will end famine.
As the working class waitress-turned-investigator probes the source of her son’s mysterious rash, her path crosses that of the beleaguered organic farmer.
The most intriguing storytelling techniques are sci-fi twists and turns, taken from sources like the pod people of the 1956 classic “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” the harrowing genetic experiments of “Frankenstein,” Lindsay Anderson’s 1973 “O Lucky Man!”, the mass surveillance of Orwell’s “1984” and even Laura Poitras’ 2014 documentary “Citizenfour.”
In “Consumed,” humans are used as lab rats. Inhumane experiments are carried out on helpless animals. The film touches on patent infringement, the ongoing struggle for healthcare and insurance, whistleblowing, mental health, loyalty, betrayal, family trauma, and, of course, GMOs. The filmmakers manage to pull it all together to make a cogent, if occasionally heavy-handed, independent-minded film.
Director Daryl Wein said it took him and co-writer/star Lister-Jones seven years to bring “Consumed” to the big screen. “Previously we did dramedies and we were dying to do something different.”
Garber told the packed audience at the L.A. film festival: “It was a passion project. When I read the script I said this is something I’ve never come across. I’m so honored to be a part of it.”
At the premiere, Glover declared: “Some things come out of experiments conducted in other parts of the world, the global south … I think this is something to be concerned about—the mechanization and industrialization of farming.”
“Consumed” doesn’t have a distribution deal yet, but there’s an audience out there for this progressive motion picture.
Ed Rampell is The Progressive’s Man In Hollywood and co-author/author of four movie film history books, including “The Hawaii Movie and Television Book” (http://hawaiimtvbook.weebly.com/). His Progressive interview is included in the new book “Conversations with W.S. Merwin.”