Fast Food Nation

Fast Food Nation

(2006)

Richard Linklater (Dazed And Confused, A Scanner Darkly) helms this adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s best-seller. Intriguingly, the filmmakers have taken the adventurous step of turning this non-fictional book into a fictional film. Says Linklater: "[We wanted to do] a character study of the lives behind the facts and figures of fast food". ... More

The Big One is the latest burger from fast-food chain Michey’s (not McDonalds, yet very much McDonalds) and it’s shaping up to be their most successful product yet. However, there’s something strange in the meat. Company man Don (Greg Kinnear) is sent to investigate the meat packing plant in Cody, Colorado. The story examines fast food industry goings on via Don's visit; a group of illegal immigrants from Mexico who can only find jobs at that plant; and a group of highschool kids who work at a Mickey’s outlet.Hide

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Flicks Review

'Fast Food Nation' is a sprawling epic – a healthy running time and a massive cast covers the people & business of the fast food industry. The chain is ‘Mickey’s’, not McDonalds yet very much McDonalds. The story examines the goings on via: a Mickey’s marketing exec (Kinnear) who’s sent to a cow killing, meat packing plant to investigate the questionable quality of the beef in Mickey’s burgers; a group of illegal immigrants from Mexico who get jobs at that plant; and a group of highschool kids who work at a Mickey’s outlet (including awesome performances from Lou Taylor Pucci & Ashley Johnson).

A big cast and a controversial subject risks being just a big hullabaloo. Thankfully though, the (sometimes great) Richard Linklater ('Dazed & Confused', 'Waking Life') engages us through the original, vibrant narrative and acutely observed characters. There’s a strong sense of an independent film-like energy to the film.

Having said that, there are a few tangents and Linklater also OD’s on the cameos – some are successful like having Kris Kristofferson, some terrible like having the all too recognizable Avril Lavigne.

Because it’s presented as a drama (it’s a fictional adaptation of the non-fiction book you see), the facts about food quality and the like don’t have that much of an impact. But the rebellious notion of questioning things and doubting what we’re told by government & big business is at the core of the film (embodied in the funny and pitch perfect teenage activist group). That's what’s most interesting in 'Fast Food Nation' and, I think, quite timely and quite relevant. [By PS]

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 4 ratings, 4 reviews
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I expected such great things for this and I was a bit dissapointed. It seemed to include to much fluff, and not enough meat so to speak.

Though I think it's worth a watch, a definite 3 star.


Thought I'd walked into Three Burials for a minute there. The Traffic-esque structure was destracting from the gold in the Ashley Johnson story-line.

I enjoyed the ending for the graphic visuals and because the film was almost over.


I loved this film. It's such an important topic and the last scene of the cows is gruesome but very moving - if that's the right word. I loved the characters too - Greg Kinnear is great, so is Patricia Arquette & Ethan Hawke as bro and sis.

Recommended.


While I found the book of the same name to be quite compelling, the fictitious adaptation seemed to fall flat. What was so interesting about the book was the history of the industry, the artificiality of the product and especially the marketing of the companies, how they roped us in as children and why we kept going back. The film, while it includes such issues, never gives us the detail into the world of fast food that I felt I had been promised. Where ‘Super size Me’ succeeded, ‘Fast... More Food Nation’ leaves us short, with more questions than answers. The controversial elements, fail to include the effect on the nation as a broader whole, ‘the fattest nation in the world’, and the spin off effects as a result of fast food induced obesity. The whole film feels unresolved. Considering the ridiculousness of the industry, there’s not a single laugh, and the shock value moves from the ugly to the grotesque. But at least people are out there thinking. And that's always a good thing.Hide


The Press Reviews

51% of critics recommend.
Rotten Tomatoes Score. More reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

  • Minces its storytelling through its ambitious multi-narrative structure and really leaves you none the wiser... Full Review

  • True originality, without losing its subversive nature... Fast Food Nation works from beginning to end, on a metaphorical mode and a transparent set of connections... Full Review

  • Crucially, Linklater withholds the urge to make fun. And that’s precisely why Fast Food Nation hurts. Uninterested in straining comedy from the mire, or camouflaging relevance in a marketable fantasy, Linklater proceeds to bite right for the core. He’s deadly serious. By sandwiching stricken characters between a quasi-oppressive bun – each victims of circumstance, each accessories to the act, each deployed to the four corners of the fast food brethren in a seemingly unbreakable chain of command – he leaves a bad taste of smothering disquiet and futility... Full Review

  • It remains appealing for its subversive motives and revelations even as one wishes its knife would have been sharper... Full Review