Before I watched this film and had just seen the title a horrible image that has been doing the rounds on Facebook recently, dominated my thoughts; meat slurry is apparently the whole content of a chicken, or other animal crushed down to a sludge and it is reportedly what is used in chicken nuggets and other fast food.
So it was with this disturbing image in mind that I started watching the film. That sense of discomfort didn’t really leave me as I watched the various unsavoury characters in the film. I wondered who were the humans and if the main characters were aliens that were impersonating humans, what a depressing perception they had of us. Is that what outsiders looking in on our world see? They were emotionless, robotic, almost autistic, uncomfortable in their roles, not getting it quite right. The “humans’ on the other hand were natural, communicative although there was a suggestion from their behaviour that there was little higher order thinking going on; their interactions were at “mating” level – the cook and the waitress engaging in trading lascivious gestures, the couple outside kissing, – or “play” – three guys and a girl building card houses in the diner booth but laughing and joking and having fun. There is a suggestion that the thought processes are basic.
So if these bodies determine what it is to be human then at least they have feelings and can form relationships.
We often use the phrase “We are only human” to reflect that we make mistakes; mistakes that need to be fixed, bridges that need to be mended. Being human means that we are not perfect but we have the capability to talk, to think, to empathise, to care, to make value judgements, to follow a moral code that respects differences, individuality, and our fellow men.
The film suggests that maybe the body is just a vessel and that it can be hijacked, that we cannot necessarily trust that what we see is what it seems. In that respect a body cannot be relied upon to define what it means to be human. That hijacked body might as well be meat slurry, with no nutritional value, no real substance.