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Fast Food Nation
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Reviews & Ratings for
Fast Food Nation More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

"I can't think of anything more patriotic than violating the Patriot Act"

Author: jpschapira from Argentina
1 May 2007

I have been reviewing a lot of films about current issues lately. I'm not going to start comparing again, because I'm tired and I want to look at the cinema as what it is one more time; an art. Political films, mostly documentaries, are made every day, for people to become aware of what's going on around them. Maybe they'll want to do something after watching them and maybe not, but this is the only way filmmakers express themselves and declare statements: by presenting their art.

Richard Linklater's "Fast Food Nation" takes on the fast food business right from the first frame and believe me when I say it does it without mercy. Going through all the events that take place in Eric Schlosser's bestseller, the movie makes its accusations. What goes on so this can happen is a riveting and fulfilling experience charged with irony and sarcasm of the best kind of comedy, drama and even a little bit of romance; all backed by a flawless and melodramatic score (Friends of Dean Martinez). But I won't say anything about it.

Everything is done with art in "Fast Food Nation". Linklater's piece is not a documentary but a film and, although it has an intentional documentary feeling, it never forgets this. However, this doesn't make it less risky and brave, as the camera shows some really disgusting scenes of how things are like. There's an urgent need on letting it all out, evidenced in every aspect of the picture. But Linklater, although taking in a new type of material and way of working, never fails to remind us of his own style.

One of the best contemporary directors out there, Linklater has all of the positive adjectives: original, innovative, inventive, daring, diverse and assured. Not to mention he is also a writer and a very witty one. Written by himself and Schlosser, the "Fast Food Nation" script hits all the right notes by being sharp and controversial but also understandable and thought provoking. As is also usual with him, the conversations between the characters flow naturally.

An experienced director of little characters in focused places, Linklater goes large with this film, giving us a big number of characters in different places whiting the same story. Don't get it wrong: this is not the "Babel" and "Crash" connected storyline; it's different. And Linklater doesn't fail at the task of managing all these multiple characters, proving his direction of actors to be intact with a cast of independent, unknown, mainstream and even resuscitated performers.

Linklater's regular Ethan Hawke is on fire in one of his smallest appearances of this decade, delivering the strongest beliefs of the film. The same happens with Bruce Willis, while Kris Kristofferson and Patricia Arquette are more laid-back but not less confident. Wilmer Valderrama doesn't get the Mexican accent, but Catalina Sandino Moreno does and shines with dramatic power. Bobby Cannavale takes on the performance of his career and Luis Guzman is charming as he brings some hardly accomplished Spanish talking to the mix. Paul Dano is still on the right track, and Ashley Johnson gives a relaxed and impressive portrayal; I have always been waiting to see her after "What Women Want". I want to mention that Avril Lavigne is also in the mix, as well as a couple of convincing young actors I hadn't seen before.

Last but not least, there's always a good guy. He has to be there, watching everything going wrong and wanting to make it right. This is Don Anderson, the character that drives the film, played by Greg Kinnear with an intelligence so precise and peculiar only he can achieve. I want to take this chance to mention that I think his performance in "Little Miss Sunshine" was fantastically understated and superb and that I consider it one of the most underestimated of this decade; more than Paul Giamatti's Harvey Pekar in "American Splendor".

Not only Linklater passes the test with the wider scenario, but he also accomplishes some of the bests shots of his career, with a perfectly placed number of cameras displayed for each scene, a couple of beautiful long-distance shots plus completely intense and haunting close-ups.

If I had to choose one word to describe "Fast Food Nation", it would undoubtedly be 'brutal'. The other day I had to write an essay about young children using mobile phones, saying if I agreed or not. I don't agree, but I remember putting: "It doesn't matter what we think, the industry has already proved to be bigger than us; and we can't do anything about it".

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great movie

Author: Travieso78702 from Austin, Texas
7 April 2007

Though I can understand some complaints of the slowness of parts of this film, I must say that this movie was really good. As someone who grew up on the Texas/Mexico border, I have never seen a movie that is such a realistic portrayal of life on the border. Furthermore, it shows how this system of economics that has developed across the border effects us all - and in the most personal arena of dinner time.

The author and the director both have pulled together seemingly different cultural phenomenon - illegal immigration, abuse of power within ethnic groups(showed by Mike the Supervisor), food politics, and runaway materialism and greed. This movie was never disrespectful of the Americans, the Mexicans, the food industry workers, nor even their bosses. It shows how a dysfunction within a system can effect our health and well-being.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Just what IS in the beef?

Author: Michael O'Keefe from Muskogee OK
23 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Satiricle, provocative, disturbing and at times comical. Not exactly for the weak stomach or faint of heart. Greg Kinnear plays a marketing executive for the Mickey's burger chain. He is part of the team that named and is promoting the newest fast food creation..."The Big One", everyone wants a big one. Testing shows that there is a nasty secret ingredient in "The Big One" and Kinnear travels to Cody, Colorado, where the main slaughterhouse is located. Let's say there is a question of sanitation in the processing of the meat. This is just a glimpse of the underbelly of the industry; the processing plant is manned by droves of Mexicans that venture into America illegally. From feed lot to the restaurant. Your appetite may be throttled after watching this one.

FAST FOOD NATION is rated a strong R for disturbing images and moderately graphic sexual content. Talk about a lineup of stars participating: Esai Morales, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, Ashley Johnson, Patricia Arquette, Avril Lavigne and Bruce Willis.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Eye opening and impactful

Author: polaris-5 from Canada
5 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I found the movie to be entertaining and eye opening. Even though many of the topics raised in the movie I was already aware of, but seeing it instead of reading adds the additional impact. There was a fairly good story played out, the characters could have been filled in a little more, but would have made the movie even longer. I think he was able to create an excellent movie covering topics others don't want to go near. There may have been to many topics covered for a single movie but in the end I think it is pulled off without overwhelming the viewer. This is a movie which made me think about the way the economy is moving towards, the way low wage employees are treated and how large corporations continue to increase there profits, with many seeing record profits up 40%+ and wage increases a miserable 3% there is little doubt who is looking out for the little people.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

They shoot Tofu, don't they?

Author: eyal philippsborn ( from jerusalem, israel
13 January 2007

Of all the peculiar choices of family entertainment attractions, the following one is probably the most bizarre I've ever encountered. I have a friend that grew up in a vegetarian family. When he was four years old, he was taken to a slaughterhouse where he witnessed the "demise" of cattle. One doesn't have to visit a slaughterhouse to know that the beef we consume is not originated from cows who died from old age but a series of disturbing images of a slaughterhouse might not be the suitable mental dressing for a fat, juicy steak.

As for my friend, well, the experience mentioned above proved to be highly effective. He never ate meat again.

Fortunately for "Mickey", a lucrative fast food chain, there are more than plenty of people who are more than happy to pay 4.98$ for "The big one", a super sized burger that passes the pallid test of key demographics in flying colors. A test that the burger fails miserably in is a E.coli test. Put it in laymen's terms, some burgers contain, well, there is no subtle way to write this, cattle excrement.

Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear in a very good performance), a marketing manager in "Mickey" is called to scrutinize UMP, Mickey's meat packing plant. Don discovers, along with the viewers, the dark side of the mass produced fast food. The story of the Mexican Illegal immigrants who are smuggled to the states by dubious characters; The story of densely populated cow farms and the story of a factory that worships the Dollaer and nothing rlse. If the plot sounds a little familiar, maybe it's because you stumbled across "Traffic", Steven Soderbergh masterpiece that depicts the different aspects of the narcotic industry. This movie is, quite simply, the Traffic of the fast food industry and like "Traffic" the Mexican stories are much more compelling than the American ones.

Raul and Sylvia (Wilmer Valderrama and Catalina Moreno in excellent performances) as the couple who are about to find out the hard way what UMP considers them to be are much more compelling than the story of Amber, the teenage student who befriends some anti-whatever group that is set to undermine the ruthlessness of UMP. The Mexicans that go by foot and are smuggled across the border to work and live like the cattle they handle garners more sympathy than the confession of Amber's uncle, Pete (Ethan Hawke) that for ten minutes transforms the film into a "before sunrise" blabber-fest that isn't suitable to this film at all.

Richard Linklater, the director (that also directed "Before sunrise" which featured Ethan Hawke) who exposes us to both the American and Mexican aspects of this industry, leads the viewer slowly to the big climax that I will not reveal but I feel compelled to tell you, includes the disturbing footage that made my above-mentioned friend the avid vegetarian he is today.

This footage is highly disturbing, even for a veteran viewer of fight club, clockwork orange and silence of the lambs such as yours truly.

The most disturbing part of the movie though is how inflammatory and low-on-reasoning it is. Cows died in inclement ways long before the fast food era and slaughterhouses were rinsed with the red blood of cattle and poultry long before they were incorporated. If Eric schlosser, the author of the book this film is based on, tried to get me off meat (Fat chance of that happening) than his take on the fast food industry is irrelevant. If he is criticizing the fast food industry treatment of its employees, he ignores the privately owned sweatshops who, for some obscure reason, get immunity for mistreating their work force by the subversive groups of the new Millennium.

This film makes you think about it long after the end credits. A trait well appreciated in films. The problem with this film is that the more you think about it, the less sense it makes. If this website was a court drama and I was Ernie Becker from L.A. LAW (I'm a little behind on American TV) I would call the disturbing footage to be inflammatory and prejudicial. the climax footage shocked me (and everybody else in screening I attended) but it had no real conviction. Nor did the activists that their rationale seemed less of Don Quixote fighting windmills and more of the windmills.

Add your hot air metaphor here.

I guess a movie that makes you think as this film does can't be all bad, and this film is anything but bad. The script, direction and acting are wonderful and the behind the curtain look of this industry is riveting and from a basic internet research, is not far fetched, either (Let's just say that 1993 was not a positive year for the Washington branch of "Jack in the box". search it if you have the stomach for it). This film is powerful and well made but it is not suitable for the faint of heart (stomach, really) among us. Also, bare in mind that as intelligent beings, it's your responsibility not to eat every crap people might try to feed you. Regardless whether they make hamburgers or movies.

8 out of 10 in my FilmOmeter

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Super Sized guilt trip

Author: ( from fairview, nj
12 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

FAST FOOD NATION (2006) ** ½ Greg Kinnear, Wilmer Valderrama, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Bobby Cannavale, Luis Guzman, Ana Claudio Talancon, Paul Dano, Patricia Arquette, Esai Morales, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Willis, Avril Lavigne. Absorbing and scathing – yet undercooked – fictional adaptation of Eric Schlosser's (who co-scripted with filmmaker Richard Linklater) best-selling indictment of the fast food industry in the United States aims at the economical, social and consequential elements of what goes on behind the scenes of a franchise under investigation for its less than wholesome demeanor and the scrutiny of its health conscious concerns. However despite its well-meaning attempts the ungainly pacing and clumsily staged interweaving of several story lines don't hold in the long run but still the acting is excellent (arguably Kinnear's best work and Willis' juicy, unsavory cameo is served with impeccable relish) and the theme, although told in straight-forward, no-screwing around methods seems a tad heavy-handed particularly in the climactic ending for those who feel it may be preaching to the choir to begin with.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

To go where no one ever wants to go

Author: jaimejacobusdeane from Greece
27 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have no idea what the filmmakers had in mind but the story didn't go anywhere except to show an unnecessary amount of sex and the poor conditions of work for illegal aliens. I must say that it amount to less than nothing. This movie would have been much better if it had been turned into a documentary instead of a film because it would not only raised awareness, it might actually bring some truth to light instead the filmmakers decided to make a motion picture to bore audiences to death with a wannabe documentary with lots of speculation. What a disappointment. There should have been truth and proof of these activities not this going nowhere storyline.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

This movie bites the BIG ONE, excrement ensues.

Author: boninwie from United States
26 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

As a 9 year manager at a major fast food chain (and long decidedly sick of my job) I was excited to see FAST FOOD NATION, little did I expect the train wreck of meaningless stories that just leaves you wanting more. Greg Kinnear is great as an exec, and Esai Morales as the manager, they pull off the kind of performances of "I've worked for these guys before." Performances aren't the issues here though, its the stories. From illegal immigration to sex in the workplace to workers on crank to trying to make a difference to injuries in the workplace to about a dozen other topics; this movie jumps around too much and connects like a puzzle that a 2 year old has mysteriously lost some pieces to. I enjoyed the different angles and stories in such movies as BABEL, PULP FICTION, and SIN CITY but this film leaves much to be desired as many issues are barely touched upon and forgotten seconds later while others are just plain meaningless. Much of the movie plays like they had to add in deleted scenes to extend the time of the film.

A special 2 minute feature on the DVD entitled 'The Backwards Hamburger' is more informative than the feature presentation and will, more so than the film, leave you with a disgusting taste in your mouth.

I really was pulling for this film, but if it did anything for me its the fact that I may not eat another burger again at a fast food restaurant. I guess I'll keep my job though, it pays the bills.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

SEE THIS MOVIE!!! If you want to walk out disappointed.

Author: babongo from United States
11 December 2006

This may seem exaggerated, but I must say that Fast Food Nation was probably THE worst movie I've seen in a long time. I've been more entertained watching an episode of DOG: The Bounty Hunter than I was during this film. I don't oppose any point the writers were trying to express; I'm actually a huge supporter, but the lack of creativity and mental stimulation this film provided was depressing. I left disappointed, unenlightened, uninformed, and regretting ever stepping foot into the theater. Not only did it star Avril Lavigne, but the majority of the characters played useless, emotionless, and unintelligent roles giving all working-class Americans a bad rep. There were so many unnecessary advertisements that I felt sick to my stomach. There are no more points I can make as to why you SHOULDN'T see this film that haven't already been expressed in other (better written) comments, so I'll leave you with one last note... Other than the countless scenes of immigrant sex, this movie sucked Ronald McDonald's profit reaping balls.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Fast Food Nation is a must see film

Author: j_kat_k from United States
16 November 2006

I usually don't submit reviews, but I was fortunate to see a preview of the film tonight in Minneapolis, MN (USA). Fast Food Nation is a must see film. Director Richard Linklater doesn't need to sensationalize the information culled from the book Fast Food Nation. The facts speak for themselves. The same is true of the film. The plot unfolds very slowly. But don't misinterpret this as "nothing is happening". Also, play close attention to the dialogue (most of which is in Spanish) and you will get an authentic encapsulation of what our country's current state of affairs is due to the growth and power of the fast food industry and all who are dependent on it and destroyed by it. The scene with Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette is so dead right on you almost forget you are watching a narrative film. I applaud Mr. Linklater (and Eric Schlosser) for writing a screenplay and creating a film that tells it like it is and doesn't apologize for it.

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