A true underdog story, McLibel succinctly documents the tale of David Morris and Helen Steel, two activist friends sued by McDonald’s over a pamphlet that put fast food in the firing line. The resulting trial ending up becoming the longest in UK legal history, costing the Big Mac-makers around £10 million. From obesity and animal cruelty to the exploitation of pester power, the issues are dissected in a digestible, no-extra-relish format. Conversely, a lack of cinematic pizzazz means it’ll play better on the box. But this is still a tasty companion piece to Super Size Me.
Like Morgan Spurlock, the defendant duo’s beef isn’t so much with McDonald’s per se. As former postman David puts it, "This is about the public’s right to know what the most powerful organisations in the world, multi-national corporations, are really doing." While neither he nor his pal share Spurlock’s natural charisma (Helen admits she’s camera-shy), the very fact of their unassuming ordinariness inspires all the more.
Stretching back to 1986 (when the Everything They Don’t Want You To Know pamphlet was first produced), events are functionally re-told via interviews, diary entries and courtroom reconstructions. While this David and Goliath story has a happy ending, it’s also honest enough to count the personal costs that taking a stand can incur. Further flavour’s added to the menu by Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser and by ex-Ronald McDonald actor Geoffrey Giuliano, who says he felt like "the man in the Third Reich who was propaganda minister". Lovin’ it...