Chicken People: Film Review
Director: Nicole Lucas Haimes
Whereas Pecking Order concentrated on the bitter henpecking of the political shenanigans of the Christchurch Poultry Club, Chicken People is a much tamer affair, though one which still proves bird is the word.
Centring on three fanciers and their love of their little cluckers, the American documentary looks perfectly fine and is beautifully shot, but fails to deliver the personality of Slavko Martinov's effort.
Wonderfully shot with some pristine images of the birds in question, along with some eye-catching and well dispatched graphics, Chicken People offers pleasantries over real personality.
There's Brian, the bearded Luke Perry lookalike whose permanent singing to his animals shows his showbiz desires; there's Brian Knox, an older guy whose breeding of the birds is meticulously calculated and there's Shari, a mid-American mom who maybe broods more over the chooks than the kids, but whose heart is in the right place.Haimes's doco is perfectly pedestrian and well-hatched and dispatched, but in the year Pecking Order exposed a seedy political underbelly, this just doesn't stack up to the standard.
Seeing them all live by the chicken Bible, The Standards of Perfection and their desire to create a bird like it gives good life to the talking heads and provides some insights like: "Instead of reading my novel, I get out my chicken standard."
There's a lack of political subterfuge and more of an emphasis on the people, meaning that it's perfect for the uninitiated and isn't too long to overstay its welcome but it is bizarrely tame and lacking anything that truly fowls up its execution.
You won't come away from Chicken People feeling short-changes but you won't leave feeling like your feathers have been ruffled either.