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Fast Food Nation

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Some targets are as easy to hit as holding a gun to the head of a newborn lamb, and sadly Richard Linklater’s uneasy digestion and messy excretion of Eric Schlosser’s book plays to a sympathetic gallery with no attempt to transcend its liberal fanbase. The film’s characters and stories are numerous and coincidental: Don (Greg Kinnear) is a marketing exec for Mickey’s, a national burger chain, who travels to Cody, a small town in Colorado and home to a meat-processing plant, to investigate claims of ‘shit in the meat’.

We watch as Mexicans, including Sylvia (Catalina Sandino Moreno) and her boyfriend, Raul (Wilmer Valderrama) cross the US border and take jobs at the same, dangerous meat factory, while Amber (Ashley Johnson) works at the local Mickey’s branch despite strong protests from her trendy uncle, Pete (Ethan Hawke) and the debates between local students, Paco (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Alice (Avril Lavigne).

There’s little in the film’s choppy narrative and unexceptional mise-en-scène that’s equal to the book’s discomforting barrage of facts, figures and case studies, largely because Linklater and Schlosser’s script is a half-cocked and overloaded affair that aims condescendingly for a younger, less intelligent audience and fails to carve compelling or credible drama from its subject. Brief anti-corporate speeches from Hawke and Kris Kristofferson (as a local farmer) sound stuffy rather than tempting, and the messages are muddled: are we being told to hate both automation and meat? Why, too, does the trip across the Mexican border look like a walk in the park? There might be crap in the burgers, but there’s no grit in the movie; ‘It, kinda, doesn’t feel real,’ stumbles Amber when, finally awakened, she quits the burger trade. Too right: best stick to the book.
Written by Dave Calhoun

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 4 May 2007
  • Duration:113 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Richard Linklater
  • Screenwriter:Richard Linklater, Eric Schlosser
  • Cast:
    • Greg Kinnear
    • Catalina Sandino Moreno
    • Avril Lavigne
    • Patricia Arquette
    • Bobby Cannavale
    • Paul Dano
    • Luis Guzman
    • Ethan Hawke
    • Ashley Johnson
    • Kris Kristofferson
    • Esai Morales
    • Lou Taylor Pucci
    • Ana Claudia Talancón
    • Wilmer Valderrama
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