Fast Food Nation

"Very Good"

Fast Food Nation Review


A few weeks ago, it was announced by McDonald's that it would be making an unprecedented push towards "class." Amongst other things, it will be installing wireless internet in a large amount of its restaurants and changing décor into a mellow, art-friendly utopia for college students. Basically, it's tired of Starbucks being the only double-edged sword in the drawer. Sounds nice, but these aesthetic changes won't matter much in the face of the horrors depicted in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation.

Adapted from the inadaptable investigative best-seller by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation sets a whirlwind of brouhaha in a small Colorado town. The town in question, Cody, doesn't really exist but neither does the fast food chain that started there, Mickey's (God that sounds familiar). Mickey's flagship meal is The Big One, an extra-large patty processed and shipped at a local meatpacking plant that employs illegal aliens like young couple Sylvia (the excellent Catalina Sandino Moreno) and Raul (a shockingly restrained Wilmer Valderrama). The Big One was thought up by Mickey's marketing whiz-kid Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear), who has been sent to Cody to investigate a high amount of fecal matter being found in the product that made him a success.

The sprawling landscape that Linklater creates here conversely addresses the same dystopic culture that he created in his adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly. Where Scanner looked at the paranoia and haziness of a future culture of drug-addled "losers," Fast Food Nation accepts its paranoia and instead investigates the humanity that goes into what can be best described as an "accepted conspiracy." Bruce Willis, giving a killer cameo as the middleman between Mickey's and the meatpacking plant, puts it rather bluntly: "We all have to eat a little shit sometimes."

The counter-culture gets personified by the chain's employees, notably Amber (Ashley Johnson) and Brian (Paul Dano). While Brian dreams of holding-up the joint, Amber joins a group of college students (including Avril Lavigne and Thumbsucker's Lou Taylor Pucci) in trying to free the cattle that are penned up along Cody's borders. After the cows won't move and they almost get arrested, Pucci quips, "Next time, we should bring cattle prods."

Fast Food Nation isn't perfect by any means. Some might frown upon a few narrative choices that Linklater makes. Kinnear's storyline disappears halfway into the movie and Sylvia's sister Coco (Ana ClaudioTalancón) carries on an affair with a ferocious boss (Bobby Cannavale) that seems a tad two-dimensional. Nevertheless, Linklater's prurient haymaker gets down-and-dirty with the details of its eroding culture war; you have to smirk at the cop roving the hallways at Amber's school and the "Trapped in the Closet" video paused on Coco's television screen. Following both Clerks II and Morgan Spurlock's devastating Super Size Me, Linklater's inquisitive mini-epic bullies the American way of eating with harsh reality and delicate understanding. Want fries with that?

It's what's for dinner.



Fast Food Nation

Facts and Figures

Run time: 116 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th May 2007

Box Office USA: $0.9M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Production compaines: BBC Films, Participant Productions, HanWay Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 50%
Fresh: 73 Rotten: 72

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Sylvia, as Raul, as Coco, as Don Anderson, Juan Carlos Serrán as Esteban, Armando Hernández as Roberto, Mitch Baker as Dave, as Cindy, as Rudy Martin, as Harry Rydell, as Pete, as Alice, Aaron Himelstein as Andrew, Helen Merino as Lisa, as Rita, Hugo Perez as Francisco, as Tony

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.