Therese, a young health inspector, breaks off her marriage and indulges herself in a variety of obsessions to take her mind off her loneliness. When she's not inspecting restaurants and butcher shops, she is erotically masticating large amounts of red meat, religiously watching a cheesy Kung-Fu show, engaging in casual sex, or having and affair with her favorite skeezy televangelist. Her compulsions spin out of control and her downward spiral turns lethal when she discovers that her meat-packing brother may have given her meat that may have been infected with mad cow disease.
Whoa. Where to begin with this one?! First off, Sarah Lassez is fantastic in the lead role. She displays incredible range. She's believable when she's breaking down and hilarious when she's imitating her favorite TV Kung Fu heroine. I don't really want to know how much red meat she consumed during the shooting...but let's just say she really knows how to take meat in her mouth. The supporting cast also fares well. Cult favorite James Duvall plays Therese's brother who may or may not have a crush on big sis. Devon Odessa (Sharon from My So Called Life!) is fun as her religious best friend with problems of her own. The film is uniquely shot (think "CrazyBird KatiePerson" but with a bit more talent behind the camera...and in the editing room) and the content is thoroughly repulsive.
As fascinating as it is to watch, some of the messages are muddled. It is obvious director Gregory Hatanaka is trying to draw a parallel between red meat and sex, but it's never really clear why, except to make the viewer feel icky. Perhaps I need to re-read Carol Adams' The Sexual Politics of Meat? There are some other weird situations (for example, her doctor speaks Sinhala and she responds in English) that make the film a bit difficult to get through. Still, it is worth seeing for its performances and originality. I really haven't seen anything like this out there. And if you're thinking about becoming vegetarian but are too, uh, chicken to make the transition, definitely check this one out. It'll make it easier.
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