Fast Food Nation review

:. Director: Richard Linklater
:. Starring: Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette
:. Running Time: 1:35
:. Year: 2006
:. Country: USA


An adaptation of Eric Schlosser's best seller and symbol of American counter-culture, Fast Food Nation was destined to be made into a documentary. Richard Linklater chooses to take the risk and deliver fiction instead.

The result is an unclassifiable filmic object, where breaks in style prevail. Richard Linklater caustically evokes the fast food industry through the study of satellite characters: from the marketing executive of fast food chain Micky's to the undocumented, under-qualified and exploited Mexican, this satirical film sizzles with its distanced and ironic manner. Forget Super Size Me (a masochistic performance) and other interventionist films, where Michael Moore reigns supreme, Fast Food Nation finds true originality in its middle ground, without losing its subversive nature. In common language, bad food is usually associated with what it is: shit. The film takes the expression literally. Cow dung, under disastrous hygienic conditions, has contaminated the batches of meat intended for the sandwiches of Micky's chain restaurants.

A marketing executive (Greg Kinnear) leaves to investigate the issue in the farming state of Colorado. By the end of his investigation, he will not have seen anything of the precarious world which surrounds the sprawling meat industry. A blindness which of course echoes that of the American government, relative to immigration, work but also to secret financial markets. The film also treats obesity, a major health problem in the United States, but there is no awakening of the conscience on the menu of Fast Food Nation. On the contrary: the characters mix but never meet. It's a skillful montage, to the service of a well-structured society. Fast Food Nation breaks down the idea of a society united around its differences. The major asset of the film is the choice casting: Patricia Arquette, Bruce Willis (in a great moment of self-derision), Avril Lavigne, Ethan Hawke, curiously all separated of their will have, play characters with a human face instead of stereotypes. Schlosser and Linklater stuck to the three most important stories of the original book to embroider their narrative groundwork.

Fast Food Nation works from beginning to end, on a metaphorical mode and a transparent set of connections. The project culminates with the idea that consumers are paradoxically devoured by the fast food industry, and not the reverse. The industrial accident scene, where the jaws of a machine crush the leg of a worker, corroborates this gripping theory. Its strong subject, treated as a dramatic comedy, ensures Fast Food Nation a freedom of tone which sometimes even borders on irreverence. There we find the fingerprints of producers, Jeremy Thomas and Malcom Mac Laren, to whom we owe The Great Rock and Roll Swindle. And to hear, for example, a hilarious line of dialogue where it is patriotic to denounce the Patriot Act. As for cinematography, Fast Food Nation does not hit its mark, but this atypical project has the merit of relevance.

  Sandrine Marques
  Translated into English by Anji Milanovic

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