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“We’re making broccoli with three times the calcium!” boasts Victor Garber as the CEO of a corporate farming company in “Consumed,” which premiered in Chicago.
It’s the rare line of dialogue spoken in defense of genetically modified food in this thriller about the possible dangers of GMOs. The screenplay is from Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones.
The tone is clenched in this story of a single mother named Sophie played by Lister-Jones. Sophie’s life starts to unravel when her young son develops an unexplained stomach bug and later finds his body covered in an mysterious rash. When doctors do little but shrug at his symptoms, Sophie becomes convinced GMOs are the culprit.
She never finds out conclusively because so little is actually known about the effect GMOs have on the human body. (Regardless, there are currently no laws in the U.S. that require GMO foods to be labeled as such; a good portion, however, show up in processed foods.)
Maybe GMOs are making the kid sick, maybe it’s something else. The film does an excellent job of stoking these very real fears and anxieties, but doesn’t go in for doubt or nuance. The deck is already stacked.
Here, Danny Glover plays an embattled organic farmer, and Anthony Edwards and Kunal Nayyar are compromised university scientists studying GMOs while pocketing cash from a Monsanto-like company called Clonestra. They aren’t characters so much as talking points.
The film lurches from one conspiracy to the next. The melodrama is layered on thick in ways that don’t always feel honest, and the script has a way of filling in all the blanks, leaving little to the imagination.
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