This lively, riveting documentary about our nationï¿½s crazy agricultural policies starts off like a goof and slowly builds into both a devastating, muckraking commentary and a poetic ending worthy of Field of Dreams. Plus, it never loses a sense of humor.
It follows two college graduates, Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney, as they decide to learn everything possible about corn after discovering the presence of that farmland mainstay in their hair.
So they rent one acre in the middle of an Iowa farm to cavalierly farm. For a while, cute things happen as they make friends and bumble through their new avocation. Sounds like Super Size Me, but where Morgan Spurlock always seems to make sure his story is about him, first, King Cornï¿½s filmmakers ï¿½ the two friends and director Aaron Woolf ï¿½ drop the ego as they start to discover how rotten the ï¿½industrial farmingï¿½ of corn is. Farmers have been forced into overproduction of mostly inedible (for humans) cheap corn; it goes to the force-feeding of previously grass-fed cows so theyï¿½ll fatten up and die quickly and then be shipped to fast-food restaurants. Plus, thereï¿½s the use of corn fructose in high-calorie soft drinks that have no nutritional value. (The film barely gets into the corn ethanol debacle.)
But as King Corn explores all this, it doesnï¿½t sacrifice its likeable subjectsï¿½ affability or its love for the beauty of the Great Plains landscape and the people who work it. After this is over, you might never want to eat corn-fed beef or drink anything with corn fructose in it again. But youï¿½ll want to recommend King Corn to anyone who eats ï¿½ or likes movies. (Steven Rosen) Grade: A