Whatever else it may be, Fast Food Nation is not a conventional drama, nor should it be approached as one. The latest film from the busy, eclectic Richard Linklater—whose credits in just the past three years have included School of Rock, Before Sunset, A Scanner Darkly and the Bad News Bears remake—is based not on a novel or short story, but on Eric Schlosser's best-selling work of muckraking journalism. And while Linklater, who wrote the script with Schlosser, has created fictitious characters and dramatic situations out of his non-fiction source material, the film's primary purpose is not theatrical or artistic, but social and political.

Unlike, say, Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, which was primarily about the health problems inherent in a steady diet of burgers and fries, both the book and film versions of Fast Food Nation are concerned with the broader social trends that cut across not just the fast food industry, but the industrialized world as a whole. Farms and ranches have increasingly been replaced by meat-packing "factories," many of which keep prices down by hiring illegal immigrants—laborers who, because of their insecure status, are ripe for abuse by the company's managers.

Schlosser's book covers many aspects of the fast-food industry, but Linklater's film must, of necessity, focus on just a few, while giving tacit nods to the others. The first part of the film follows two basic storylines. In one, a group of Mexicans treks across the border—accidentally leaving one man behind to die in the wilderness—and is taken to Colorado, where some of them get jobs at a meat-packing plant. In the other, an executive at Mickey's Burgers named Don Anderson (Greg Kinnear) is sent by his boss ...

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Fast Food Nation
Our Rating
2½ Stars - Fair
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
R (for disturbing images, strong sexuality, language and drug content)
Genre
Directed By
Richard Linklater
Run Time
1 hour 56 minutes
Cast
Greg Kinnear, Bruce Willis, Catalina Sandino Moreno
Theatre Release
May 04, 2007 by Fox Searchlight Pictures
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