Thank you very much for watching FEED. I hope you were thoroughly disgusted and disturbed.
– Brett Leonard, DVD Audio commentary from Director.
My biggest regret about this movies, is that the first time I saw it, it was through the eyes of an Alex fangirl. By the time I saw it, I was far gone under the spell of Mr O’Loughlin and his charms. I was more or less watching the movie to see him and not the story.
On the other hand, if Alex was not in it, I most probably would never have seen the movie, unless I somehow stumbled upon it by accident. But I do not really believe in regrets, so here I am writing my thoughts about the whole movie and not only Alex’s performance 😀
Although I am not Brett Leonard’s biggest fan, I decided to listen to his commentary when I re-watched it this time. I enjoyed it a lot, but it did not really change any of the perceptions I had about the movie, or alter any of my thoughts on what was good or bad about it. It however opened my eyes a bit about all the performances in the movie. Half the success of a movie comes from casting the right people and I think the characters were very well cast.
He [Alex] is a very talented young actor and he is definitely going places. He’s a real movie star and definitely gives a very courageous performance in this. Apart from getting nude several times, as the part called for, he really went there, to a kind of very dark place.
– Brett Leonard, DVD commentary from the Director
‘You are my Jelly Baby’
The only scene where I think the actors and the director or who ever choreographed it, missed an opportunity, was at the first meeting between the main characters. On the lawn in front of Michael’s house, their conversation and acting abilities are lost in the unnecessary physical movement. By showing the cat and mouse game physically, it distracts from the message………
In my opinion, Brett should also be listed as the writer of the story. I know the lines between, writing and directing can sometimes be blurry, but if most of what is in the movie, is your own comment on social society, then I feel it is written by you. In his commentary he also said that Alex, Patrick and himself worked on a 30 page treatment together to create the concepts and structure of the key storylines and dialogue in the movie, before they gave it to the writer to finish.
Brett’s own religious background and thoughts or commentary about organised religions and the fanaticism surrounding it, can be seen throughout the film. And together with it his judgement of the fascination of modern society to worship the bodies of women looking like young boys on the one hand, but the over indulgence of everything we can find to consume on the other hand – he calls it rampant consumerism.
What did he [Brett ] say, “It is his ‘love letter’ to America”
– Alex O’Loughlin, Q’s and A’s at premiere in Philadelphia
The Director sees the movie as a Black Comedy with an ironic stance, with no real good guys playing hero’s or bad guys being villains. This is about psychosexual reality. He says it is not meant to be an easy film to watch, it is meant to be extreme.
My short summary of the story:
The story involves a cyber cop (Det. Phillip Jackson) hunting sexual predators on the internet. He stumbles upon a site that sparks his interest because of all the protective layers the site owner have around it. On the surface the site appears to be for people with an interest in ‘Feeders and Gainers‘, but some things on there seem suspicious and he decides to investigate further.
Phillip is under a lot of stress from the disturbing encounters at work and at home his personal life is also not the best. His live in girlfriend has a narcissistic free-spirited attitude. For her there is no problem in having multiple sex partners from both sexes, while feeling that by just sticking around, it shows her commitment to him. Their relationship is filled with violence and with that coming to an abrupt end and some leads on the whereabouts of the site owner in the USA, Phillip decides to use his holiday (which his boss forced on him) to investigate the case further without having any jurisdiction.
Michael Carter is the site owner of Feederx.com. He lives what looks like a pretty normal life, driving his Mercedes, living in the suburbs with his lovely wife. His religious wife who choose to believe her husband is somebody who looks after the needs of large women and running an internet site for them as models. In her perfect comfortable life there is no place for her to see behind the pretty picture her husband is painting around their life, to the dark truth underneath.
The truth is that Michael is a disturbed man, who got his life bent in the wrong way by his early history with his mom. His mom was a large bedridden woman who needed her small boy to feed her. She was manipulating him into being her enabler, playing on his emotions. At around the age of 9 he cracked and smothered her to death with a pillow. He carved away her fat to make her “pretty” again. His teenage years are blurry, but he was adopted by a priest when he was 15 years old, who also had a younger daughter. Michael saw his stepsister’s “potential” as a gainer, but when the priest discovers the distorted nature of their relationship, he forced Michael out of their lives – or so he thought.
On the surface Michael’s site looks like just another one of the 4000 sites for people with an interest in Feeders and Gainers. The truth is that he produces information about all the Gainers vital signs and statistics and with it provides gamblers with a chance to bet on the odds of at what time they predict the Gainer will die. A number of the women from his site have gone missing and it seems that he is in fact a serial killer, killing his Gainer Pets for financial gain by force feeding them with liquid fat.
The fact is, they are willing participants because they do it all for the “love” he gives them. Is he really committing a crime?
In a cat and mouse game, but without the blessing of his bosses, Phillip tracks down Michael. He kidnaps Michael’s wife and with her bound and gagged in the back of his car, he finds the house where Michael keeps the girls, to rescue Deirdre (Michael’s latest “victim”). Much to his surprise he is not received as a big hero by her. Even when he exposes all Michael’s deceit (the fact that he killed is own mother and that he is a married man with a thin wife at home), she still prefers to be with her “love“.
After being beaten and tortured by Michael, Phillip overpowers him and even while holding the gun, he is still powerless in the eyes of Michael and Deirdre. Michael taunts him and Deirdre curses him until he snaps. With one shot he silences her nagging and he takes Michael’s power and ridicule away.
Phillips’ “revenge” – he takes over Michael’s ‘perfect‘ life, while starving him to death……..
For me the most dangerous fanatics in the world, are those who take the truth and things that looks pure and righteous as their philosophy and use it as a mask for what evil they might have festering underneath and need to hide.
If we look at the tattoo specially made for Michael, what do we see – we see a compass and a cross. For most part those images are seen in society as good symbols – the compass as a guide for morality and good direction and the cross as a sign of redemption from sin and protection against evil. But have you ever looked deeper, past the obvious? There you find the cross is made of two Femur bones and bones are mostly being seen as signs of death and sometimes even evil.
With what Michael say, we see how he uses the truths about and judgements of the evils of society, as the pretty pictures in the front of him hiding his “sins” and destructive behaviour underneath.
Michael: Put the cuffs on me. I gave my women too many calories and made them fat. Come to think of it, they were always fat, but I happen to love that about them.
I like to think of myself as a facilitator, an enabler. I enable my women to be free of the social pressure to conform to a body norm which is based on abstract base metabolic rates and body mass indexes. I let them be whatever they want and I love them just the way they are.
Michael: I don’t think you fully comprehend what I am doing here. I have a deep appreciation of beauty. True beauty isn’t about anorexic women who would crack their pelvises if they ever try to give birth to a baby. Fashion, culture and Madison Ave have usurped true beauty. Models are skinny and androgynous women with small breasts. They are more like boys. They have no curves, no hips, small bony butts and no body hair.
Fashion has reduced their physical femininity to something defined by clothes and hair, rather than the body itself. The women I nurture are free of the artificial pursuit of vanity. They no longer have to go under the surgeon’s knife and have their breast reduced or their bellies tugged. I liberate them. I endorse their desire for gratification and I allow them to be beautiful. The truth is that men like their women big and soft, not constipated, waifish and with halitosis from malnourishment.
Nourishing a woman, honouring her, caring for her, accepting her the way she is, that is what it means to love a woman. Don’t you see Phil; it is about respecting my queen and putting her needs before anything else. The price is offset by the perfection. They eat to please.
Michael: Consumption is evolution. Something is always eating something else. And the best eaters, the ones at the top of the food chain, are the most highly evolved. There are over 600 billion people on this earth, Phil.
We are literally eating her alive. We consume, because we are programmed to consume. Why do you think people are getting fatter Phil? [laughs] Because those who consume, survive. And those who don’t, get eaten. These days we even consume our dead.
For me the real genius of this movie is the ability of Alex’s acting skills to dash between a ‘normal‘ person having very intelligent and rational thoughts and arguments and that of a disturbed person rationalizing with those ideas his pathology. The three of them (Michael, Phillip and Deirdre) in the big show-down scene is brilliant. Michael’s face when he loses his power and his “love”, is pure perfection.
Just a bit of trivial trivia – After Deirdre’s death, we hear two more shots when the screen goes dark. Those two shots were Phillip shooting a hole through each of Michael’s feet. Some sort of symbolism of the wounds from the nails through Christ’s feet.
(BTW, this is not Alex’s feet, but they belong to the stand in, thin man, they used for these shots)
For me, in the end, these questions remain:
- Is it really possible for a guy who became an officer of the law and has made it his job to track down people who exploit and harm other people (in this case via the internet), to be pushed so far that he becomes a murderer and someone taking pleasure in another’s torture?
- Is there a point where someone who hunts justice, will decide to become judge, jury and executioner?
- At what stage is it society’s duty to protect us from ourselves?
- How far should we as individuals go, to try to “save” someone else, when they are willingly participating in something that we can see in the end will destroy them?
- When does one become an enabler of another? Is there a point of no return, where you just help them with what they are doing and not try to change their behavior any more?
- How far will people go for love, attention and acceptance?
It is really difficult to let go of you own vision, but there is no “I” in team. There is a little bit of all of us in this picture. I hope you enjoy it.
– Alex O’Loughlin, Feed interview
Maybe there were just too many ideas that needed to be told on a limited budget. The unusual practices of the relationship between ‘Feeders and Gainers‘, told within a thriller is definitely a unique concept. The original idea and concept was mostly to shine light on the subculture and the love and affection between the parties and also the reaction we as an audiences might have to the sight of something that shock our ideas of what is ‘normal’ – in this case a fit young beautiful man and a grossly obese woman getting off on each other.
The intention of the movie makers was never to either promote or on the other hand pass judgement on anything, but to give people something to think and talk about …….. and maybe they succeeded, because here we are talking and thinking about it. 🙂
There are a very few likeable characters in this film.This is about a bunch of people being fucked up in different ways.
– Brett Leonard, DVD audio commentary from the Director
41 responses to “#AlexOLoughlin – Playing cat and mouse with Pac-Man”
This is the only AOL movie I haven’t seen and have no interest in. The whole premise of the film just gives me the creeps and leaves me cold. It’s way to dark for me and that’s where I want to leave it, in the dark.
I agree with your thinking – if it is not the type of movie you would like, don’t watch it!!
I really do hope we get to see Alex on something more “normal”, with the same kind of range in acting that he shows it.
I have to admit that even Alex’s beautiful nakedness isn’t enough for me to watch. I’ve struggled with weight my entire life and have finally come to terms with the fact that wysiwyg (what you see is what you get :-)!).
I would love nothing more than to see him get an acting role that showcases his enormous talents. I don’t believe an Oscar is out of his reach.
I have only watched Feed once, but think after your thought provoking comments, I might have to watch it again! Thank you!
I think the “gross factor” on the first watch mask a lot of the story. Thanks.
Many of us re-watchers encourage fans to give it a 2nd go. Because you then don´t get stuck with the icky, and get to see Alex´s great performance. It really isn´t my cup of tea either, but it is very entertaining on re-watches. Please, give it a 2nd chance, you can always fast forward the most disturbing bits.
Exactly! The movie and Alex’ acting deserve a second (and third! Yes I’ve done it!) watch. After you get over the icky-ness you can appreciate his brilliant and versatile acting!
I’ve watched Feed about 5 or 6 times which is far less than any other Alex film. But I do like it. I LOVE Alex’s acting in it. I could listen to “Michael’s” voice all day. You did the best review of this movie I’ve ever read! Thanks for that. 😀
Thank you J ♥
There is such a lot more thoughts about it. I really enjoyed watching it through Brett’s eyes this time and together with Alex’s interviews it makes it more “fun” to watch.
I agree totally Jill with what you say about Alex in the film and FOYeur;s AMAZING review.
I admire you, FOYeur, for being able to watch this movie more often and taking such close looks. I don’t think I’ll ever watch this movie again, even if it showcases Alex’s enormous… talent (not what YOU McPervs thought 😉 ). Especially the scenes with the liquid fat… Even thinking about it now makes me a little sick.
I do agree, though, that this movie raises a lot of questions. The most obvious one, to me, is “At what stage is it society’s duty to protect us from ourselves?” I’m quite ambivalent about that myself because, on the one hand, I do understand the typically American libertarian viewpoint that says society shouldn’t interfere with the individual too much. Hence you could say: Hey, if a gainer is happy being fed and risking her life by taking part in that, so be it! On the other hand, people are stupid. 😉 What I mean is sometimes people need help to even realize that what they’re doing is harmful to themselves. So I do think, society shouldn’t just look away when someone is destroying their lives, even if – seemingly – willingly so.
I supported the strict anti-smoking laws in Bavaria (Germany), banning smoking from restaurants, bars and clubs, but I’m against a speed limit on the autobahn; I wear a helmet and other protection gear when I’m inline-skating and have finally bought a ski helmet, too, but I’m against a mandatory “veggie day” at cafeterias and higher taxes on sugary soda drinks (eg). I’m against the pressure to be thin, but I wish my brothers would lose some weight… So where’s the line?
Oh boy, is that still about FEED? Sorry for rambling…
Your not rambling and I love your comments. I wanted to comment on your earlier thoughts on the other post as well, but I was so busy writing this, I did not want to much of my thoughts away. I will go back and give you my thoughts on that as well. 😀
Oh, thanks so much! 🙂
On a McPerv side note: that banner is HIGHLY distracting! 😉
WOW that’s a very in depth study 🙂
Loved reading it.
I have seen the movie once with the intention of definitely watching it again and i just might now that your comments re-awakened my interest.
i remember thinking that it was completely different from what i expected, but in a positive way.
It was quite dark and disturbing but it also made me wonder if some of the things that Michael believes into are actually right.
Your questions about Patrick are clever.
I truly disliked his character when watching the movie and nearly ended up routing for Michael and i don’t think it was only because he was played by Alex 😉
I even ventured on questions to myself like “how far would you go to please someone you like as much as Alex”.
I didn’t see Patrick as the good guy or Michael as the villain, they were both damaged and complicated souls.
So definitely a movie that doesn’t leave a person untouched.
The performances were very good from all the main characters.
I hope Alex will take similar creative projects on board at some point in the future of his career.
Thank you Manu, glad you enjoyed it.
There was so much more I wanted to write, but it would have been just too long.
Brett says in his commentary that they did want us as some stage to start routing for Michael – so it was not just Alex’s performance, but their intent.
My experience is so similar. I had to buy this DVD and see Alex in an unusual role. I knew just enough about it to not see it and there was no other way than buy it. Once I became a fan, I wanted to see all his work. So I watched from the interest in his acting not for the story line. Eventually, I will have to get my hands on Mary Bryant as well.
I’ve mentioned before that even as a bad guy in Feed and Criminal Minds, I can’t get past my girlish crush to not love him anyway (not attracted to bad boys so that’s not it). I just see Alex the man and admire his work. I truly believe that not all actors can play a good guy and a bad guy so well and this moves him up the acting chain in my eyes.
The movie itself did have some qualities that I wanted to see as well. Feeding or gaining weight was something I new nothing about and my own struggle with weight also made me want to know something about this topic. I agree with the Director – some people just be messed up beyond a normal person’s comprehension.
Thanks for your dilligence in bringing us more in-depth information on Alex and his career.
Mary Bryant is a great mini series and Alex’s performance is very good 🙂 Definitely worth to see!
I think Alex has the ability to come up with some fresh ideas for stories and hopefully he will one day get the chance again to show his talent in that regard – as a moviemaker and story teller and hopefully as the actor in it as well!
I watched Feed almost a year ago when Ess challenged me to do it for a debate in her blog. I was curious to watch it but the theme bother me so i delayed the viewing until the challenge. It was the penultimate previous Alex’s work that i watched (the last was Man-Thing and once is enough for me – it’s a bad movie).
Feed is not a movie for everyone, leaves no one indifferent to the storyline and the characters. There isn’t good and bad guys but twisted and tortured souls, each one with quirky thoughts and points of view about the concept of beauty and relationships in nowadays society and what is right and wrong behavior and the boundaries of it. There is a criticism about the definition of beauty and the freedom of each to do what you want with your body (i’m not only talk about food but sex too). But if we can’t forget that Michael is a serial killer (and his relationship with his mother damaged and defined who he is), what about Phillip, the cop? I know that sometimes we wish/want to “make justice with our hands” and they show us perfectly his obsession of “hunting” the truth about Michael and his crimes, but the ending is quite disturbing – what kind of justice is that? Who he is to define, determine and apply the punishment? Your questions are mine also. I would highlight “How far will people go for love, attention and acceptance?” – if our first thought is for Deirdre, we know that is about all the characters in the movie.
Bravo Foyeur for this terrific study. TY
Thank you. ♥
This film holds a lot of weird memories for me.
I will not go into detail, but I was arrested in a country where these kinds of movies are not allowed (they actually thought we were watching porn).
We were taken only to a police cell and spend a few hours there. I’ve never been so scared in my life! They kinda stone women there….ya know…
I actually cursed Alex a few times and swore I would do something to him if I ever got out of there a life…..That’s how scared and angry (mostly at myself) I was.
We were released when a co-worker, who spoke the language, persuaded them after 2 hours of talking, to let us go, but I never got the DVD back….
Maybe Alex is on their ‘persona non-grata list’ and they can identify him by his glorious butt, if he ever attempts to get into that country….
I actually never told this story before and thought to hold on to it, for if I ever met him. That’s probably not gonna happen….
*sigh* Hi, I’m Tanja and I’ve been in jail for being an Alex fan….
*hangs head in shame*
Thank you for sharing your “shameful” story with us – second best place, after telling it to him 😀 .
It must have been truly scary!
Were you a fangirl of Alex then or was it just a movie you saw by chance?
It was the DVD I brought with me and we were watching it in the hotel when security barged in…Believe me FOYeur I’ve never been sooooo scared in my life! I was having visions of being stone to death. My co-workers; I felt so responsible for what happend. There was a young colleague who was sobing uncontrolably and a few others were crying that they would not see their children anymore. OMG, what I nightmare….
Anyway, we’re still good friends and when we see each other we actually laugh at the whole situation. It’s not something I’m proud of….and I wonder if I ever met Alex I would have the guts to tell him….
LOL Sorry for laughing but I am glad you finally got to share your story. Alex has ruined so many things for many of us. He should pay for a cleaner to come over to my place. I can´t seem to get anything done anymore.
How did you manage to pick such an unfortunate place to watch that movie! And how did they find out you were even watching it?
You should mention it to Alex, if you ever get to meet him. And I promise, I will tell him, if I ever get that chance. He will get a good chuckle 😀
OMG, what a story to share! Thanks that you did! I’m sorry about your shock, but looking back, this is actually so hilarious… Though I’m perfectly sure that’s not what you thought then…
CHUCKLE?, CHUCKLE?, he should pay! LOL! 😀
It’s ok to laugh, Paula, cause we laugh at it now too.
It’s a country where we as women are kinda not very safe to go outside. The company I work for had a whole floor in the hotel, where we could be ‘ourselves’ and walk around free. We had a very modern tv room, with a big high tech plasma tv, (phew, that butt looked big…) a DVD player, food and soft drinks to our desposal.
About 20 min. into the movie we descided to order some more softdrinks. When the lady came to bring us our drinks, Alex was in a scene nude…
She almost dropped the drinks out of her hands….
We think she went to the hotels security and told them we were watching porn movies upstairs! That’s when they came to the floor and whole hell broke loose….
Oh no!!! Stupid woman! She should have stayed and watched the peachy butt with you!
It must have been awful to experience, but so often these kind of moments give you a good laugh, after some years have passed. Lucky for you that you had someone speak for you.
Amazing story to tell AOL fans! Who can top that?!
Whew, what a write up!! Applause, FOYeur! I think the movie flawed but showing a great potential. I loved that it’s quite unamerican (no h8, it’s just I’m a bit fed up with American-style movies already)…
I downloaded it 18months ago and still havent plucked up the courage to watch it yet! Maybe I might soon, this was a great article so I really do think I’ll watch it….eventually 🙂
Thank you so much for your wonderful in-depth study of this disturbing little masterpiece. I have watched Feed 4 times now and I think they have done a great job because this movie doesn’t leave anybody cold. It was done in a way that people cannot just put it aside as weirdo stuff. All the questions raised about beauty standards, anorexia and obesity are right in the middle of our societies. And you asked the right questions. How much can we – society or individual – interfere with something so obviously wrong and disgusting from our point of view – my point of view. No doubt Alex delivered an outstanding performance, but this movie even had the right to exist without Alex playing Michael, because it stirs controversial discussions about disturbing developments in our society which may already have affected or will affect our lives in the future.
PS: I wonder how you noticed the holes in the feet? When I heard the 2 gunshots I thought that he might have shot Michael’s father who was already at the brink of death? Anyway, TY again, that was like investigative journalism.
Anwyn, there is actually so much more that can be said about the movie once you listen to the commetary.
I never would have seen those holes and thought even more about the shots, if it was not for the commentary – Brett explained it.
I am already wondering about doing follow up, with all that extra info and also from the thoughts that all the comments here bring to light
Again, FOYeur, BRAVA! I want to rewatch now, but will have to order a new copy because mine got damaged somehow. I tried to find his “special place” too many times and it won’t play anymore. 😦 Hmmm..that sounded dirtier than I intended. 😛 Anyway, I don’t want to take away from your incredible study and I hope to get my new DVD soon.
Since I really haven’t watched it completely through, I am so thankful for your synopsis. I can now watch it and get a better understanding of the complexity of characters and not just look at what’s on the surface. ( ie..
Alex’s very fit, round, and squeezable tushie with those legs that go on forever.) *sigh* Even in brown socks, the man is heavenly.
Being an overweight, obese by medical standards, woman I feel for Deirdre in that she just wants to be loved. Doesn’t everyone? I have been alone for almost 5 years now, and the world is a cruel place. Yes, there are men out there that I may attract, but there are also men who say they like heavy women, then try to change you when they become your partner. It’s like a woman who says she likes “bad boys”, but once he is “hers” she tries to tame him. So in a way, a sick one albeit, Michael loved Deirdre for what she was and didn’t try to make her fit into “the norm.” However, force feeding her with a funnel…pretty sure I wouldn’t do that, even for a naked Alex. The chocolate syrup “massage”…I’d be all for that! Hmmm…I may have said too much. Me? Never. 😆
I won’t pretend to be a deep thinker or be profound most of the time. I am more of a “feeler” than a “thinker” and I know that has caused me some turmoil in my life. I wish society would accept people for who they are and look past the cover. I may be overweight but have so much to offer a man. Society has made men want thin and artificial women, but then they yearn for loving, faithful partners. They find themselves so hung up on appearances and jealousy towards anyone who finds their “perfect” woman beautiful, that they forget to nourish the relationship. I’d like to say “Men are idiots!” but that wouldn’t be fair to those few who are wonderful, loving “normal” men.
I fear that I too have become shallow when it comes to how I perceive normal men. I cannot compare them to Alex! That is not fair at all!
I didn’t intend to go on like this, sorry if I over spoke. Again, great study FOYeur, and obviously it got this “feeler” thinking. 🙂
@lurxgirl: Thanks for being so frank and honest here! I truly hope you’ll find a) a way of not comparing “normal men” to Alex and b) a man who loves you just the way you are! I don’t know you, but I’ll just go ahead and *hug* you anyway. 🙂
And, by the way, I’m not convinced that men, in general, want THIN women. Most men I know do like women who actually look like WOMEN. Though I must say, I was alomst a little disappointed in Alex when I first say his super-thin girlfriend. But I know that’s not fair – neither to Alex nor to her.
Thank you ffg! ((HUG))
🙂 You’re very welcome! 🙂
(Just a minor correction – being an ESL-teacher I MUST correct myself, even if it’s only a typo: it must be “almost” instead of alomst)
I’m back here to say that Foyeur’s study and Paula’s encouragement, i finished watching Feed for the second time. I know that is a understatement but Alex is a very talent actor. And i can’t figure Patrick as Michael’s character, only Alex. Have a nice weekend, Girls!
Do you feel we were right to push for a 2nd watching? Did you enjoy it more this time? Alex has such a range in that movie, from sexy, to dangerous and then comedic and not to forget intelligent.
Yes, i enjoyed more this time. You appreciate more the acting on second watching. And Alex is brilliant in all variants of Michael’s twisted, tortured soul and crazy serial killer.