The Grab – Toronto 2022

The Grab. Courtesy of TIFF.

The Grab is perhaps one of the most horrifying documentaries anybody will watch with its focus on food and water security.

This is the film that a number of world leaders do not want you to see. In fact, it might just be the film that places pressure on the Department of Justice to take action against companies profiteering off of our own resources. What is it that people frequently say? Oh, yes, follow the money. This is what reporter Nate Halverson does. To put it simply, the results are disturbingly frustrating as we get further and further into the film. If governments, private investors and mercenaries (cough Betsy DeVos’s brother, Erik Prince cough) had their way, they would have control of food and water resources. I should not have to remind you but food and water security is national security! How is it that these people are being allowed to get away with such practices?!? Forget OPEC because FoodPEC is going to be the thing of the future.

If you thought Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish was damaging, think again. She takes it up a notch in her return to documentary film with one that many will not want you to see. Believe me, the 6-year investigative documentary is certainly worth the wait. It’s one company being exposed after another. What are our political leaders doing? Well, Arizona’s Doug Ducey is just letting our water go to Saudi Arabia, leaving hard-working Americans with nothing. Meanwhile, Smithfield Foods is now under ownership of the Chinese government. Do not think for a second that it’s just a regular Chinese company that owns them because they’re always a bigger picture at play. Because of this acquisition, one in four American pigs are now under Chinese ownership.

I couldn’t be more disturbed in listening to Holly Irwin’s comments. Irwin is a Supervisor in La Paz County, Arizona and her complaints to the Arizona government and our own federal government have gone unanswered. It’s not an understatement to say that this is a film that will elicit responses from its audience. Take it from me: I kept saying “Wow” throughout the film. I mean, you have a woman who has taken her complaints to the highest level of government in the land and they’re just ignoring her. Why?!? It’s absolutely reprehensible that Attorney General Merrick Garland is not taking any action. Newsflash: actions like this are not a good look for Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.

What is happening right now with food security is having a large role in the inflation prices right now. Look no further than the devastating impact overseas in Ukraine. Ukraine has 29% of the world’s wheat so it is no surprise that inflation skyrocketed with Russia invading Ukraine. Oh, yeah, this film also places the invasion in a new light. When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, Ukraine responded by building a dam to block water flowing into the area. What is among the first things that Russia does after invading Ukraine in 2022? Bomb the canal that is blocking water.

Speaking of Russia, they’ve imported American cowboys to take care of their growing cattle supply. Moreover, they’re in a position to benefit from the climate crisis as the melting snow and ice uncovers more green land. What does this mean for us? Russia is going to become a global power when it comes to exporting food across the globe. We cannot allow this to happen.

The Grab is a more damaging film than Blackfish just because of its focus on our own natural resources. It’s an acquisition title playing in Toronto but whichever distributor acquires it needs to make sure that it gets in the eyes of everyone. My cap is off to The Center for Investigative Reporting and filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite for making sure this documentary got made. You can call it thrilling or horrifying or whichever phrase you prefer but this film needs to be seen by as many eyeballs as possible. That conservatives are more terrified by LGBTQ youth than the people seeking to control our own food and water should tell you everything you need to know.

DIRECTOR: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
FEATURING: Nate Halverson, JoeBill Muñoz, Mallory Newman, David Ritsher, Emma C. Schwartz, Holly Irwin, Edward Hargroves, Brigadier “Brig” Siachitema

The Grab holds its world premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in the TIFF Docs program. Grade: 4.5/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.