Boxoffice reviews this fictionalization of Eric Schlosser

Fast Food Nation

on November 17, 2006 by Richard Mowe
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Based on the best-selling rant by Eric Schlosser that exposed the food industry, Richard Linklater's film version opts for a fictionalized rather than a documentary approach, inventing characters and situations that echo the authors original concerns. Put over with a good deal of humor, not to mention some gut-wrenchingly graphic scenes in the abattoir and heartbreak tales of the Mexican immigrant work force, Fast Food Nation does not let up its momentum for a second. Its message may not be that revelatory anymore (see Super-Size Me ), but nothing much has changed in the food chain. And the idea of fictionalizing the account gives it a whole new spin.

Greg Kinnear plays Don Henderson, a corporate executive at Mickey's Fast Food Restaurant chain, home of "The Big One." He has a problem: Contaminated meat is getting into the frozen patties of the company's best-selling burger, and he needs to find out why. His journey to uncover the answer is not nearly as simple or as clean as he had hoped.

Don delves in to the culinary dark side, leaving the comfortable confines of the company's Southern California boardroom for the immigrant-staffed slaughterhouses (Catalina Sandina Moreno and Bobby Cannavale portray employees there), as well as the endless, dreary malls of Middle America. He finds a nation of consumers who have been hoodwinked by corporate might unconcerned with ethics or employment laws.

Linklater hits plenty of raw nerves -- so much so that some of the food giants under attack have planned a counter-offensive when the film is released in the fall. Fast Food Nation refuses to flinch from unpalatable truths, presenting scenes and revealing working conditions that would not normally be examined. Will it put you off your supper? Depends on the menu -- but carnivores beware! Starring Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ana Claudia Talancon, Wilmer Valderamma and Bobby Cannavale. Directed by Richard Linklater. Written by Eric Schlosser and Richard Linklater. Produced by Jeremy Thomas and Malcolm McLaren. A Fox Searchlight release. Comedy. Rated R for disturbing images, strong sexuality, language and drug content. Running time: 114 min.

Tags: Starring Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ana Claudia Talancon, Wilmer Valderamma and Bobby Cannavale. Directed by Richard Linklater. Written by Eric Schlosser, Richard Linklater, Produced by Jeremy Thomas, Malcolm McLaren, A Fox Searchlight release, Comedy, California, food, humor, adult, restaurants
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