Killer at Large (DVD Review)23 Mar, 2009 By: Billy Gil
Not as fun as Super Size Me but nearly as compelling, Killer at Large takes a hard look at American obesity — and an even harder look at those who market junk food to children and the government entities that suppress actions to curb such strategies.
The film opens with footage of Dr. Richard Carmona, the muzzled U.S. Attorney General under President George W. Bush, espousing the battle against obesity, calling it his No. 1 concern over terrorism, weapons of mass destruction or any other challenge during his tenure, real or perceived.
It then tells the story of Brooke Bates, a 12-year-old girl from Austin, Texas, who has liposuction, and moves onto various experts and grim statistics to put obesity under the microscope.
Several times Killer at Large got to me, physically. The footage of Bates’ surgery made me feel ill, the fat being suctioned out sounding not unlike the slurping sound of someone drinking a Big Gulp. Then again, when organic farmer John Borski retells what children on a TV program said was their favorite thing to eat — tater tot casserole (hamburger, tater tots, cheese and ketchup) — my mouth watered a little.
As a whole, Killer at Large isn’t as convincing as some other documentaries and books on the subject of obesity, but it earns kudos for focusing attention on children. Its points about advertising and marketing literally “hunting” children, and the government’s complicit role in the matter — Carmona says he was largely forbidden from addressing obesity — are its strongest.
The disc contains the usual deleted and extended scenes, commentary and premiere footage, but also houses an abridged educational version, making it ideal for middle and high school (grade-school kids would likely be bored or scared).