Director: Richard Linklater
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Avril
Lavigne, Catalina Sandino Moreno
RunTime: 1 hr 53 mins
Released By: GVP
READ OUR REVIEW ON THE ORIGINAL ERIC SCHLOSSER'S NOVEL
Day: 4 January 2007
Big One’ is the latest burger from fast-food chain Mickey’s
and it’s shaping up to be their most successful product
yet. However, there’s something strange in the meat.
Company man Don is sent to investigate the meat-packing plant
in Cody, Colorado where ‘The Big one’ comes from.
Disturbed is the word to describe the feeling one will get
having watched Fast Food Nation. If Morgan Spurlock’s
Super Size Me made you put off upsizing your meal and cutting
down your fast food consumption intake, then Fast Food Nation
will make you think twice about picking up that succulent
and juicy burger.
Morgan Spurlock who went on a one-man fast food eating rampage,
Richard Linklater’s fictional account (albeit seemingly
real) refuses to take sides and instead, provides the audience
with the ability to formulate an opinion. Linklater drives
the audience around stories of different individuals whose
lives intersect as they form the developmental cycle of the
fast food world. In doing so, the audience is taken on a journey
that begins from the very cow which is slain to the consumer
who purchases the burger.
what is the most dynamic part of the chain, Don Henderson
(Greg Kinnear), vice-president of Mickey’s Burgers,
is sent to Colorado to inspect the meat packing company. Students
from a local university had taken tests from different burger
patties and had discovered that Mickey’s patties contained,
urm, shit. Holding up the film is also the story of Amber
(Ashley Johnson), a straight-A student who is working part-time
at a Mickey’s branch. Pressed by her peers and family
to quit her job, she finds the key to doing so when she joins
an environmental awareness college group. Joining the two
stories together is the story of illegal immigrants from Mexico
who endure the dangers of crossing the border to find work
and a better life. In the case of Raul (Wilmer Valderrama)
and Sylvia (Catalina Sandina Moreno), they end up in Colorado
and eventually working for the meat packing company.
Food Nation has an excellent cast of Academy Award Nominees
like Greg Kinnear (Little Miss Sunshine) and Catalina Sandina
Moreno (Maria Full of Grace), which is supported by the likes
of Linklater favourite, Ethan Hawke (Before Sunset) and Bruce
Willis (Die Hard). The cast is further strengthened by singer,
Avril Lavigne, Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine), Luis Guzman
(Punch Drunk Love) and Patricia Arquette (True Romance). Usually,
the problem with an ensemble film like this is that actors
who have a fairly smaller role rarely make much of an impact.
However, in the case of Fast Food Nation, the actors rock
big time. Ethan Hawke rambles a lot but he has power dialogue
and Bruce Willis? Bruce owns the scene he appears in with
various memorable lines and yes, it does include the word
while the actors get their work done tremendously, the film
as a whole fails to hold up as a compelling story. Sure, Linklater
allows the audience to formulate their own perceptions but
each of the three main stories could work better as stand
alone films. In attempting to show the cycle of “life”
in the fast food industry, the pacing and editing of the film
is sacrificed. Starting off with Don Henderson’s quest
to find the shit in the meat, the audience’s curiosity
is piqued. When the film meanders towards the sub-stories,
the curiosity lingers but eventually wanes until the finale,
which might induce a little vomit or two.
Food Nation is a watchable film for its ability to stir controversial
material into something that is not too preachy or judgmental.
Hey, for all you know, this film might just contribute to
that diet you have always wanted to do but have put off.
Food Nation will make you think twice about consuming fast
food faster than you can say upsize.)
by Mohamad Shaifulbahri