May 11, 2007

Fast Food Nation - $3

Fast Food Nation is a movie I had high hopes for. It is written and directed by Richard Linklater (of Dazed and Confused fame) and stars a number of actors I was looking forward to seeing on screen. Overall though this movie was a dramatic disappointment.

This is a movie in the now popular ensemble-cast style. There is no dominant story but several sub plots that only intersect mildly. Each story relates to the fast food industry, we follow Mexican migrant workers on their journey across the border to becoming workers in a meat processing plant, we follow the VP of marketing for the fictional Mickey's restaurant as he investigates why their meat has feces in it, and we follow several teenage part time fast food employees in their day to day lives.

Where Fast Food Nation went wrong for me was that it tried to do too much. Through the characters in this movie, their dialogue, and the situations they get into we are exposed to commentary not just on fast food but on suburban housing, safety in the workplace, unclean farming practices, environmental effects of modern farming practices, sexual abuse in the workplace, teenage dreams and adults with unfulfilled dreams and believe it or not, even the Patriot Act.

I really wanted to like Fast Food Nation. I agree with a lot of the sentiment expressed in its message about farming and how fast food has affected farming practices in the United States. Some of the imagery of the movie was affective as they filmed the meat processing plant scenes in a real meat packing plant while it was operating, the actual plant workers were the extras. In the end however, this was a movie with a lot of unrealized potential.

I know that there was a message that got out through this movie, I'm sure that many people who saw this movie came away with more knowledge about where their fast food comes from; the problem is they likely didn't come away feeling like they'd just watched a well told story and if they're anything like me they certainly didn't come away entertained.

In the end this is a movie with awkward pacing and a wandering plot that leaves the viewer wondering what the point is on more than one occasion.

I put Fast Food Nation on my 'Don't Watch It' list and give it a value of $3.


Sheamus the... said...


Jon, Angie, Elijah & Brady said...

hmm, good review. sounds like the movie is like one of my old sermons, trying to save the world in a single presentation.

Tony Tanti said...

Good analogy Jon, this movie was indeed "preachy" but not nearly focussed enough to have an impact. Not in my opinion at least.

patrick said...

just watched Fast Food Nation, it's an impactful flick to say the least... earlier today i passed up a sausage mcmuffin because of it. Evidently it is worth passing up fast food for more than health reasons.