Three years after Super Size Me, director Richard Linklater put the burger business through the mincer again. It's just a shame that Fast Food Nation is "slathered in self-importance" as it takes the point-of-view of various people affected by the contamination of meat at a Texan processing plant. After opening to mixed reviews, the box office numbers were as flat as a cheap beef patty.
Chewing The Fat
In a 15-minute interview, Linklater shrugs off numerous accusations of heroism, speaking out in a country suffocated by unfeeling corporations etc, etc. However, he does accept that his film is one of few that offers rounded portrayals of illegal Mexican immigrants and that he did intend to challenge the "corporate bottom line thinking" that "disconnects" people from their sense of "humanity" and all that. Someone dust off a Nobel!
Those big ideas aside, Linklater talks about the challenges of fleshing out the book by Eric Schlosser (who also co-wrote the script with him) and he gives Bruce Willis a special mention for his role as a pragmatic burger exec. Apparently the dome-headed action-man is also "a real thinker". Not much of a talker though - in fact none of the cast contribute.
In a separate interview, Schlosser explains the genesis of the project as an article for Rolling Stone magazine. He admits that, going into it, he knew very little about the politics of fast food and even dares to confess, "I eat meat." With that in mind, he insists that fellow omnivores should witness what happens on the 'killing floor' of a meat factory. Oh, and by the way, the meat is also a metaphor for the plight of illegal immigrants. Referring to the character played by Catalina Sandino Moreno, he says, "It's about her being turned into a piece of meat." Bet you didn't see that coming, eh?
Without question this film is full of heart (along with four stomachs and a lot of bovine intestines), unfortunately the mishmash of storylines and speechifying doesn't go down any easier on the small screen.
Fast Food Nation DVD is released on Monday 27th August 2007.