That Sugar Film

Sugar Film-Inset

Described as Australia’s answer to Supersize Me, THAT SUGAR FILM sees Damon Gameau tackle an altogether more worrying nutritional issue. Over 60 days, monitored by a team of medical experts, he commits to consuming 40 teaspoons of sugar per day- frighteningly, the Australian average.

The healthy Gameau, who hadn’t eaten refined sugar for the previous five years, set several rules for his experiment.

He was allowed no confectionary or soft drinks and had to maintain his normal exercise routine. The sugar he consumed could only be obtained from so-called ‘healthy foods’ such as breakfast cereals, low fat yoghurts and fruit juices.

The results, which included mood swings and a 7% increase in body fat, have been well publicised in the media recently.

It’s sobering stuff: luckily for cinema audiences, Gameau is both extremely affable and has directed a technically great film that is frequently hilarious.

The opening credits include images of flowing chocolate and a mountain of lollies with Gameau on top, all to the appropriate soundtrack of Depeche Mode’s ‘Just can’t get enough.’

It is a fitting taste of what is to come for the rest of the film: the producers clearly haven’t spared the budget on graphics, screen time or editing and effects.

We watch experts give their opinions from the labels of food cans, while Stephen Fry makes an amusing cameo.

Special credit must go to cinematographer Judd Overton, editor Jane Usher and production designer Gareth Davies for their roles in realising Gameau’s quirky, stylised vision.

The bullet point of THAT SUGAR FILM may may be that sugar is bad, but that doesn’t mean Gameau can’t add in a little sweetener at the end. The well-choreographed music video for the song Sugar Man contains just the right amount of cheesy goodness to lighten the mood.

This is a well executed, entertaining documentary for a broad mainstream audience.