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Fast Food Nation


Stars: Greg Kinnear, Bobby Cannavale, Ashley Johnson, Bruce Willis, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Luis Guzman, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Paul Dano, Lou Taylor Pucci, Kris Kristofferson

Director: Richard Linklater

A well-fashioned, but depressing and dialogue-heavy diatribe on the subjects of the fast food business in America and the scandal of the country's illegal immigration problems.

Director Linklater ties the two together by having his Mexican refugees apply for jobs at the local slaughterhouse and meat-packing factory in the small town of Cody, Colorado. Marketing exec Don (Kinnear) heads for Cody to find out why elements of cow dung have been turning up in his 'Big One' beef patties.

His inspection of the Uniglobe Meat Packing Plant reveals it to be seemingly spotless, but local rancher Kristofferson lifts the shades from his eyes by telling him of floors running with blood, all parts of the cow ending up in the product because the meat-sorting chain - run by Mike (Cannavale, who won't hire immigrant girls unless they sleep with him first) - is forced to do its work too quickly.

That's to say nothing of the assorted limbs and other bits of careless workers that also end up in the meat served at fast food counters. Meanwhile, do-gooders led by Amber (Johnson) try to release the cows.

Although eco-active, the film's bleakly realistic. The moral high ground soon crumbles under the feet of the 'caring' characters as they submit to the bulldozer of big business.

Best of the performances comes from Willis, superbly self-assured as a company man who's knows which side his burger's battered. Sensitive people will assuredly find the abattoir scenes hard to watch - especially with their ever-present sense of impending disaster.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Tartan. Colour by FotoKem.
109 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 28 Apr 2007