The new film Fast Food Nation covers quite a bit of ground but then it has alot on its mind. This new Richard Linklater (“Dazed and Confused”, “Before Sunrise”) film is based on the bestselling book of the same name which I hate to admit I haven’t read.
Fast Food Nation is set in and around a meatpacking plant in Cody Colorado and the US border where many of the undocumented workers who toil there make their crossing. We view this meatpacking plant from stories by executives from a burger chain who get their meat there, the workers from the plant and employees of a single burger franchise. The interwoven stories cover a canvas of so many different things Americans should be considering: the treatment of animals, immigration, food safety, ecology, the Patriot Act and multi-national Corporations and their influence in America. It’s pretty safe to say the Bush Administration, Congress and Corporate America will not embrace this film as it has much to say critically of their neglect of us.
This film plays and is shot in a cinema verite fashion but is scripted and not a documentary. An all-star cast featuring Bruce Willis, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Greg Kinnear, Wilmer Valderama and Kris Kristofferson amongst others play these characters who interact one way or another with this meatpacking plant. I don’t want to give too much away but Linklater weaves them in very cleverly to create a whole fabric of Americana at this moment in time. I recommend this film for anyone who cares about the issues involved as it is very well crafted and always intriguing.