There’s a problem at Mickey’s, America’s most popular fast food chain. It has come to the attention of corporate management that the number one selling burger, The Big One, is being made with contaminated meat. Marketing VP Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear) is assigned the task to get to the bottom of this potentially disastrous problem but isn’t prepared when he finds out that America favors convenience over understanding what they are being fed in “Fast Food Nation.”
The premise that our favorite fast food contains traces of cow dung seems to be one that writer/director Richard Linklater (who co-wrote the script with Eric Schlosser, the title’s book author) would use to comedic effect. But, the helmer takes a much more serious turn with the multi-layered treatise that moves from the lofty heights of the corporate executives coping with the possible scandal to the plight of illegal immigrants drafted to work in the meat packing plants along the Mexican border. The result is a tight, taut drama that suffers only from having too much to say. The multiplicity of storylines covers a lot of ground with the immigrant issue, the ignorance of the average consumer and the prospect of corporate cover up as just some of the issues raised.
Acting is first rate with the ensemble cast, led by Greg Kinnear, giving their roles an almost documentary feel. Coupling this with the analytical look at American mores makes “Fast Food Nation” a thought provoking film that I found satisfying. Beware, though, that Linklater takes his camera not just through the meatpacking process but also to the slaughterhouse. This latter part is hard to watch and will turn you off from hamburgers, at least for a while.
Helmer Linklater opens your eyes to what lengths corporate America will go to make a buck (or billions of bucks) to give our consumption-geared society what it wants. “You are what you eat,” “Fast Food Nation” seems to say in this thought provoking drama.I give it a B..Laura:
Laura did not see this film.
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