Fast Food Nation
Directed by: Richard Linklater
(Fox Searchlight)
When writer-director Linklater and co-writer Eric Schlosser set out to adapt Schlosser's 2001 book Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal for the big screen, their goal was to translate the facts from Schlosser's non-fiction tome into a character-driven film. In this, they've succeeded. Fast Food Nation provides its viewers with an impressive bird's-eye view of the fast-food industry's (sometimes feces-ridden) nooks and crannies. Rather than bombarding their audience with a parade of preachy facts, Linklater and Schlosser use interlocking narratives to bring the account to life. The film's characters include a well-intentioned marketing exec (Greg Kinnear) at fast food chain Mickey's and the exploited Mexican workers (Catalina Sandino Moreno and Wilmer Valderrama) at the meat-packing plant that provides Mickey's with its beefy products. Linklater's built his career on subtle, character-based movies (such as Dazed and Confused and Before Sunset) so it's disappointing that Fast Food Nation isn't better. Linklater and Schlosser never make viewers invest in the characters they've created. The two have an important message to convey and they do so effectively. But to make us care about it, they should have done more to bring it to life.
—Lindsay McCarney

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