Guilt is an intense emotion that everyone will experience in some way shape or form at some point in their lifetime, for many they feel it often. While in the moment feeling guilty for whatever we may have done is a horrible feeling, the fact that we are feeling guilty is a reminder that we are indeed human. Human beings make mistakes and those mistakes can often lead you towards guilt, but knowing that we did wrong and working to atone for that wrong shows that we are human and tells us what kind of person we are as we try to atone for our mistakes and guilt.
Meat is told in flashback. The very beginning of the film, Matthews is laying in the grass staring distantly upward with a faint sound of sirens in the background. After a flash to the title screen, we see Matthews laying in bed waking up for the morning and then we are run through a typical day in his life. Matthews attends a preppy co-ed boarding school and a typical day for him includes all of the guys laughing, having fun, and joking. It seems as if this is how they live. They have no worries or cares in the world and are able to have fun, laugh, and joke their way through life. Even when Matthews shows up late to a class the teacher simply mentions that he is late before his fellow classmates jokingly tease him. Everything is taken lightly by these preppy teenagers as if the world does not affect them and as if they have no effect on the world surrounding them. It is this type of thinking that will get anyone in trouble, and ends up doing Matthews in.
While home for the weekend, Matthews takes a car and goes on a joy ride. Obviously driving to fast and recklessly, we see him going towards a haggard looking man and his dog, hearing the dog yelp before it flashes to black. Then Matthews is back at school except this time as we are taken through his day it is not like before. Matthews is more subdued and withdrawn than he was. When a teacher asks how his weekend was Matthews does not say anything other than that it was a typical weekend at home. Yet Matthews keeps having flashes that the viewers sees of the accident, we see the man sitting on the side of the road sobbing. It keeps playing over and over in Matthews mind.
Yet he does not talk about the accident to anyone. He definitely had opportunities. He could have talked to any of his teacher, especially the one who had asked about his weekend. He could have talked to any of his friends. He could have talked to the girl he had a crush on, and possibly was dating, instead of a failed attempt of trying to work out his feelings by having sex with her. Matthews cannot escape the guilt that he feels for the accident, for being reckless. And instead of talking about it like he should to work out his feelings and try to alleviate the guilt, he takes the other path and lets that guilt control him.
Then while he is already emotionally down, but no ones knows the extent, his friends do what they are used to doing and tease him about the girl at a soccer game or practice. Except this time Matthews is so emotionally charged that he cannot handle their lighthearted teasing and overall nonchalant look at life and he snaps. The friends begin shoving one another on the field, then the team gets involved and Matthews gets knocked down. While laying on the ground, the fight going on around him, he is inadvertently kicked in the head causing him to again flash back to that accident except this time we see that he paused and then drove away.
Now we are back to the very beginning, everything put into context now. He lays there dazed and staring with that distant look in his eyes staring up, a tear escaping his eye. Until he coughs, turning to his side we see his teeth stained with blood and he gasps for one breath. Then the film cuts to black. We do not know if Matthews survived, but I believe that he died in that last moment unable to live with the guilt.
Meat is like an episode of your favorite teen drama wrapped into a less than ten minute segment. As you watch you are on the edge of your seat, you feel your heart break in the accident scene when you hear the yelp of that poor dog and again when you see the face of that poor man. In a larger sense Meat shows the extremes of feeling guilt. We must learn to take the good with the bad in life and live with the mistakes that we have made, that it what it means to be human and feeling guilt shows us that we still have humanity within us, that we are still able to feel.