A River of Waste

Posted on December 7, 2011


Disclaimer: No one is paying me to do this and I don’t have any stake in any of the film companies which produce the films.  No one has ever sent me a free copy of a documentary to view or review, and they probably never will.  The views and opinions I’m expressing here are entirely my own.  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started:

A River of Waste

The official website: http://www.ariverofwaste.com/

The filmmakers: Don McCorkell – Director; Robert Nelms – Director of Photography and Editor; Bruce Guthrie – Director of Research

The studio: Cinema Libre Studio

Watch it: You can see the film on streaming Netflix, watch it on Youtube, or buy it on Amazon.  This is the trailer:

Original Release: 2009

If Food Inc was an eye-opening look at factory food production for many people, A River of Waste is like a punch in the nose.  At first the film seems a bit dry.  The presentation isn’t at all flashy and the mood is less than positive.  The production values aren’t particularly high either.  However, once the filmmakers really begin to present their argument and the information supporting it, you’ll find yourself mesmerized.  The people featured in the film (professionals, academics, farmers, and “regular Joes”) and  are sincere and convincing.  They literally present a deluge of damning evidence illustrating the dangers of our current food production system.

If the abuse of animals makes you uncomfortable, or you don’t like consuming foods treated with arsenic and contaminated with ammonia and antibiotic resistant bacteria, then you have something in common with the makers of this film.  They seem to think these things are bad, despite the fact that repeated attempts to get a government response on these issues have been ignored or forbidden outright.  They showcase everything that is wrong with our current food production system, from environmental degradation to lax and unenforced regulation.

In my case, you might say that this film is preaching to the choir.  I’m already convinced that organic is the way to go, and I think that the way this country treats animals as products is absolutely appalling.  But sometimes the preacher comes up with something that even catches the choir’s attention.  For me, it was when they started talking about the health problems caused by simply living near these places.  Of course eating these sick, stressed, disease-ridden animals can be bad for you, and being raised in those conditions is pretty obviously bad for the animals themselves, but the idea that just living near it all can make you ill, that was new to me.  Despite the matter-of-fact presentation, River of Waste manages to pack an emotional wallop.

If you want to confirm that your choice to opt out of consuming conventionally produced animal products was the right one, watch this film.  If you want to convince someone else to make the same choice, have them watch it with you.  And if you want to continue blissfully wolfing down Big Macs, you might want to remove this one from your Netflix queue.

Posted in: Reviews