Planet in Focus 2014: Dark Side of the Chew Review

The Dark Side of the Chew

The Dark Side of the Chew, if you couldn’t tell by its title, is a documentary that’s not short on self-aware humour, yet in the process does not undermine the sincerity of its intentions. It explores the impact of chewing gum – yes, chewing gumon our culture, and its perceived (but not widely known) health and environmental issues brought on by its production. Director Andrew Nisker gives light to this issue, roaming streets of Toronto, Montreal, New York City, Mexico City, and London interviewing anthropologists, psychologists, and other experts on the subject of the TMJ-stimulating commodity.

And that’s what gum is– a commodity that is now mass produced as a petroleum-derived, artificially coloured and flavoured mass of resin that manufacturing companies say is just the thing for you. These companies avoid discussing the questionable contents of their discussion and go so far as to say that gum will actually improve your intelligence. Nisker sets out to question these claims, but he’s not a showman about it. Nisker has a modesty about him that’s endearing. It reinforces the inspiring notion that any average Joe if they put their mind and actions to it, like Nisker, can make a difference. (Parker Mott)



Sunday, November 9th, 8:10pm, Bloor Hot Docs Cinema