Don Anderson is the Mickey's food restaurant chain's Marketing Director. He is the inventor of the "Big One" the hamburger best seller of Mickey's. An independent research reports the presence of cow's feces in the Big One. So Don is sent to Cody, Colorado, to verify if the slaughterhouse, main supplier of Mickey's, is efficient as it appears and the production process is regular. During his investigations he discovers the horrible truth behind a simple hamburger; the reality is not like we think it is. Don discovers what the mass production system involves, from the temp workers like Amber, to the exploitation of Mexican irregular immigrants. It is not only the meat that is crushed in the mincing machine, but all our society. Written by
The point of the film is that these issues ARE intertwined.
It's fascinating (and a bit frightening) that, of the people I've heard criticizing this film for not being "moving" enough, none seem to consider the possibility that this could be due to their own cynicism, jadedness, or other similar accumulations of scar tissue. Which are, of course, the very attitudes that allow the abuses depicted in the film to occur in the first place. Some say that Fast Food Nation takes on too many issues, but really it's about one thing: America. It asks us to look at how millions of us live and at the by-products of our living like this. Schlosser and Linklater, by presenting together the issues of fair wages, health, family, drug abuse, etc., give us the BIG picture. We can then have a close look, those of us who dare, at the details, reflect, and get to know our own feelings about it all.
You'd have to be a hardcore-serious skeptic not to revel in the sarcastic wisdom of the old rancher played brilliantly by Kris Kristofferson. Likewise, the family portrayed by Patricia Arquette, Ashley Johnson, and Ethan Hawke feels so genuine and loving, that anyone with a pulse ought to be attracted to the unspoken promise of their humility. All three of those actors give nuanced, subtle-yet-powerful performances. Luis Guzman's bit part is not meant to threaten or scare. It's humor in sleazy, but fairly harmless, smuggler's clothing. Worth mentioning is the palpably real character of "Mike", the meat packing plant supervisor played by Bobby Cannavale. His is yet another fine performance in an important, well-crafted, and thoroughly enjoyable movie.
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