Movie: Fast Food Nation
Starring: Wilmer Valderrama, Greg Kinnear
Director: Richard Linklater
Runtime: 116 minutes
Stars: 3 out of five
I put this movie on my Netflix list because I had read the book this year and heard that there was a movie loosely based upon it. I knew it was not a documentary, but thought it was a drama about the behind-the-scenes of the fast food industry. In reality, it’s more about the struggle of immigrants and how they are involved with the production of fast food.
The story follows several different story lines. One is Greg Kinnear’s character, a corporate executive who heads to Colorado to find out why there is fecal matter in the meat. A larger part of the movie, though, follows the Mexican immigrants who cross the border illegally and find work at the meat packing plant that provides all the beef for Mickey’s “Big One,” a reference to the McDonald’s Big Mac. The executive is shown the sterilized, sanitized part of the plant, but we, the audience, get to look behind the curtain at the gruesome way cows are slaughtered so that we can eat a hamburger (spoiler: this doesn’t happen until the last five minutes of the movie). We also learn how the meat packing plant knowingly hires illegal immigrants so that they can keep costs low. The immigrants are not provided with benefits and are subjected to dangerous conditions which often cause them to be maimed and/or killed while on the job.
Fast Food Nation was difficult to watch at times, but worth a look.